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How to do the Plank Exercise

Plank Exercise

Plank exercises are great as they require no equipment at all and can be done any time anywhere, it is an isometric exercise that builds your abdominal core which includes your oblique’s (also known as love handles), lower back muscles, your abs and also the muscles that stabilize your back.

Your Basic Plank Exercise

So how do you perform a basic plank? Firstly, lay on the floor face down. Raise yourself by resting the front part of your body on your elbows and then rise up onto your toes.

Your arms should be directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart.

It may take a while for you to find a comfortable position so you can move your arms further out or in, up or down and the same with your feet.

Ensuring you keep your back flat, your body should be in a straight line from your head to the ends of your heels.

Contract your abs by tightly pulling your belly button up towards your spine and keeping a flat plank stance.

This will feel tough and you may start to shake. Hold this position for as long as you possibly can.

When you can no longer hold the stance, lower your body to the position you started in.

It will get easier with the more planks that you do and you will find you can hold the position for longer after a while because your core abs will become stronger.

This exercise is also great for your posture.

Plank Exercise Variations

The plank exercise mentioned above is your standard everyday plank, but there are a few different variations that you might also want to try.

A side plank is very popular with people that want to target their obliques.

This starts with you lying on your side with your whole body weight supported on one forearm.

Ensure your body stays in a straight line from your upper shoulder to your feet and rest the arm that you have free on your hip that is facing towards the ceiling.

Hold this position pushed up from the floor for 3 seconds keeping your core abs tight. Repeat this as many times as you can and make sure you work both sides to avoid injury.

You can also try a variation to the face-down plank by supporting your body on both of your feet and extending one of your arms out for 3 seconds (so you are only resting your upper body on one arm.)

You can also try this with your legs and raising one leg. Again ensure you work both arms and legs with these variations to avoid any injuries.

A lot of experts prefer and agree that the plank exercise is better for you than crunches if you want to strengthen your abdominal core.

You also have less risk of any damage to your spinal column.

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Ab Workouts Home Workouts

4 Belly Crunching Abdominal Exercises at Home

Abdominal exercises at home

 

Planks and lunges are 2 of the great abdominal exercises at home that you can do not only to target your abdominal core, but also to burn belly fat.

There are 2 advanced workout variations that you can for each:

Planks

This is the common exercise that most of us know and do, but the Side Plank and one of its variations are also very effective:

Side Plank

This involves lying on your side with your legs out straight. Using your forearm, prop yourself up to create a diagonal line from your shoulders to your feet.

Put your free hand on your hip and pull in your abs. This needs to be held for 60 seconds, but if this is too difficult for you, hold for 5-10 seconds and then rest for 5 seconds.

Repeat this for about 1 minute ensuring you keep a straight line and your knees and hips off the floor.

Side Plank with Rotation

Get yourself into a Side Plank position, brace your abs and extend your free hand toward the ceiling.

Then rotate is downward and at the same time twist your body downward until your chest is more or less parallel to the floor.

Return to the side plank starting position and this is the end of the repetition. Try and complete 2 or 3 sets of 5-10 reps on each side. You can rest for 1 minute in between sets.

Lunges

The Reverse Lunge

Using a 5-15 pound dumbbell in your left hand, bring it up to your left shoulder with your palm facing inward.

Whilst holding the dumbbell, step back with your left foot and lower your body until your knees are bent and your front leg is vertical with the floor.

At the same time as stepping backwards, raise the dumbbell over your head avoiding leaning or twisting at your waist.

As you are bringing yourself back to the starting position, lower the weight back down to your shoulder.

You need to complete this with both sides and doing around 10-15 each side.

A Lunge Combined With Rotation

Again, using a 5-15 pound dumbbell and holding it at both ends with your hands, keep your elbows straight without locking them, your arms straight out in front and your feet hip-width apart.

Pull your abs in and lunge forward with your left foot. At the same time, swing your chest left as you bend your knees and lower your body until your front leg is vertical with the floor.

Swing yourself back to the center and back to your starting position. Aim to complete 2 or 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg.

If you complete these abdominal exercises at home variations of the lunge and plank workouts you will notice a big difference in your core building and belly fat burning efforts.