The planks exercise is a great way to get a strong core workout without any equipment. Whether you are trying to loose weight or simply tighten up your stomach area this exercise is fast and proven. There are several different planks which you can do to boost your strength and muscular endurance.
Depending on your current ability you will either hold the exercise for 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds. You want to gently go past your comfort zone especially when just starting. With practice and exercise you will be surprised at how quickly you are able to hold this exercise for longer periods of time. You may perform these exercises in any order you wish.
1) The Front Plank - Begin by laying on your stomach with your arms inward interlacing your fingers. Simply push up on your arms and hold yourself up. You will feel this exercise in your central abdominal area.
2) Left Side Plank – Lay on your left size with your left arm horizontal with your body. Gently lift up on this arm while keeping your right arm on the top of your right side. You will feel the exercise on your left side.
3) Right Side Plank – Lay on your right side with your right arm horizontal with your body. Lift up on your right arm while keeping it horizontal with your raised body. You will be able to feel the exercise in your right side.
Please refer to the illustrations below to get a better idea on how to perform plank exercises. For a GREAT guide that both men and women will enjoy get the book The 4-Hour Body (my personal favorite). The guide contains many wonderful additional exercises and information that is extremely helpful for those of us who are looking to get in better shape. I honestly can say that it’s better than P90X and much cheaper! Also it’s a fraction of the cost of one exercise machine.
I personally do each of the three exercises once a day in the morning and have seen some impressive results. It is also a great stretch when you just get out of bed before work to help wake you up!