fbpx

How To Properly Plank

Planks are a great yoga pose. There are two types of planks- a high plank and an elbow plank. Do you know the difference? Check out the why and the how for each plank below:

High plank

Why?
Strengthens wrists, arms, back, and abdominal muscles

How?

  1. Start in table top.
  2. Keep shoulders and hands as they are.
  3. Step feet back so you’re up on the balls of your feet.
  4. Balance your weight evenly between both hands and feet. Imagine you are in mountain pose. Suck belly button in and up to elongate and straighten your spine.
  5. Feel as if your lower back is pressing up.
  6. Make sure shoulders don’t pass wrists.
  7. Breathe here.

Check your position in a mirror if possible, or ask a buddy to watch. If your low back is swaying, you have several options:

  1. Pike your hips to decrease the curve in your spine.
  2. Bring knees down if necessary, but be sure to keep your abdominal muscles engaged.

Or, if you’re not ready for a high plank, start with your knees on the floor, so there is a straight line from the crown of the head to the knees.

If you’re unable to exercise with a mirror or a buddy, or can’t tell where your body is in space, time your planks (from your feet or knees) in 10-second increments, then return back to a table top position.

Note: A plank is about trying to equally distribute body weight. Our bodies feel and work differently daily, so doing a plank might feel differently day to day.


Forearm plank

Why?
Strengthens wrists, arms, back, and abdominal muscles

How?

  1. Start in table top position.
  2. Bring your forearms to the ground.
  3. Align your shoulders over elbows. Your hips will naturally shift backwards.

    You have 3 options – place palm face down on the ground, bring each hand into a fist, or bring both hands together and interlace your fingers.

  4. Press your hands down into the ground.Step your feet straight back so the balls of your feet on the ground.
  5. Balance your weight evenly between both forearms and feet. Imagine you are in mountain pose. Suck belly button in and up to elongate and straighten your spine.
  6. Feel as if your lower back is pressing up.
  7. Make sure shoulders don’t pass elbows.
  8. Distribute weight in forearms and hands/fists and not on your elbows.
  9. Breathe here.

Once again, if you’re unable to exercise with a mirror or a buddy to see if your low back is swaying, time your planks in 10-second increments, then return back to a table top position.

 

 

 

 

The Best Abdominal and Core Exercises

Toned, washboard abs will keep your partner happy and boost your self-confidence with every outfit you put on. So get ready to pull those tight pants out of your dresser, this is the abs workout guide to six-pack abs and a flat, toned core!

<strong>Bulking</strong>

Many women can become too concerned with the number they see on their bathroom scale. You might think if that number is getting higher, something is wrong. A proper bulking regimen may add a couple of pounds to your scale, but the results in your mirror will tell a different story.

The basic concept of bulking is to consume more calories than you are burning off in your workout. If you are looking for some clean foods to add to your bulking diet, try chicken, turkey, rice, pasta, fish, eggs, peanut butter, steak, and yogurt. Usually, exercises that work out your abs are done in sets of about 20 repetitions.

During bulking, pick three abs exercises per day that involve some weights or added resistance. Do reps of 10-12 for three sets each to increase the size of your abs. Some of the ab exercise options to chose from are cable crunches, Russian twists, hanging leg raises, decline crunches and abdominal machines. I’ve outlined these exercises in detail below.

<strong>Cutting</strong>

One excellent way to prepare for summer or a vacation where you’ll be in a bathing suit is to implement a cutting routine before your trip. Typically, cutting takes place in the months after you finish bulking. The majority of food choices for your cutting diet can remain the same as your bulking diet if you just eat less of them; these are all healthy foods.

Make sure to drink plenty of water while you are cutting. Don’t think that cutting means you have to starve yourself! You should still be eating three meals per day, with a snack or two mixed in if need be. Continue to eat foods that are high in protein, but cut out some of the carbs like bread and pasta.

<strong>Cardio</strong>

An important aspect of both bulking and cutting is cardiovascular workouts. During the bulking phase, skipping cardio can cause you to gain fat from the excess calories instead of gaining clean muscle. When you are cutting, cardio exercises help ensure that fat gained from your bulking phase get burned off.

Running, biking, and swimming are all cardio exercises that you can pair with abs workouts. Other exercises focused on abs can double as a cardio workout if you do them at a fast pace, 60 seconds or longer. Some of these exercises include wall push-ups, hot potato squats, mogul jumps, and kettlebell juggling, which are all outlined in detail below.

<strong>Abs Exercises</strong>

Unlike other body parts, you can train your abdominal muscles every day. You can do many of these exercises with little to no equipment, in the comfort of your home. These exercises should be done in 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps, or 2-3 sets of 60-second intervals. Rest between sets should be between 30-60 seconds. Here I’ve selected some of my favorite exercises you can do at home without equipment!

<strong>The Bird Dog Exercise</strong>

<strong>The bird dog can be used as a warm-up exercise in addition to an abdominal workout.</strong>
<ul>
<li>You can do 5 to 15 reps per side in a set. Three sets is a sufficient workout.</li>
<li>Start with a strong base of your hands under your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips.</li>
<li>Point your toe when your leg is fully extended, but make sure to keep it straight.</li>
<li>After full arm and leg extension, touch your knee to your opposite elbow for a more difficult variation.
<strong>Single-Arm Wall Push Up</strong></li>
</ul>

<strong>If the name weren’t obvious enough, you’d need a wall to perform this exercise. So, unfortunately, this can’t be done in an open field.</strong>
<ul>
<li>The wall should be an arm’s length away from your starting position to maintain proper form.</li>
<li>Keep your feet wide for a strong base.</li>
<li>Mix in a push-up rep in-between walk up reps to make this more challenging.</li>
<li>Clench your core and abdominals for the duration of each movement.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Mogul Jumps</strong>


<ul>
<li>Start on your hands and knees, and then slightly lift your knees off the ground using your toes and hands as support.</li>
<li>Rotate your belly button, hips, and chest to one direction as you hop your legs to that side.</li>
<li>Keep your spine in a straight line with the rest of your body.</li>
<li>With your legs already to one side, hop directly to the opposite side instead of going back to the starting position first.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Figure 8 Pelvic Tilt</strong>

<strong>The figure 8 pelvic tilts primarily focus hamstrings, glutes, and pelvic hip muscles.</strong>
<ul>
<li>To remove your quads from the workout, lift your toe on the foot that is planted on the ground.</li>
<li>Squeezing your glutes the whole time will maximize your results.</li>
<li>Make sure to get a full hip extension at the top of the motion.</li>
<li>Thrust upwards as soon as your butt touches the ground at the bottom of the motion.
<strong>Rotating Side Plank</strong></li>
</ul>

<strong>Rotating side planks are a variation that you can mix into your regular plank routine.</strong>
<ul>
<li>Lift one arm off the mat, pointing it straight up in the air while opening your body and turning to that side.</li>
<li>Hold that position for 30-60 seconds or even longer if you can.</li>
<li>If you are unable to hold that position for extended periods of time, just hold it briefly, before returning to a regular plank quickly alternating sides.</li>
<li>Rotating side planks build strong abdominals, oblique muscles, and lower back.</li>
</ul>
For more workouts like these, including abdominal and core exercises that implement equipment, please visit <a href=”https://homefitnesslife.com”>Home Fitness Life</a>.

 

30-Day Plank Challenge

We are 7 days into our 30-day squat challenge. Have you guys been keeping up?! We’ve just done our 80 squats for the day, and we had a thought, “Let’s incorporate another challenge to get a full body workout.”

In comes the 30-day plank challenge. The challenge pushes you to hold your plank a bit longer every few days as the month progresses. By the end of the month, the goal is to hold a 5-minute plank. Planks are not only a great exercise for your core, but the benefits of planking include a stronger back, and better balance and posture.

The best part about it is it’s quick and you can do it anywhere. So join us! Print out the schedule below (put it next to your 30-day squat challenge) and get ready to start incorporating planks into your everyday life!

30-day-plank-challenge-chart


Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and Instagram (@Lyfebulb) and show us your exercise tips and progress by tagging us and using the hashtag #ExerciseRegularly.

Interests - Select all that apply