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Take our plank challenge and a stronger, sleeker bod could be yours in just over 4 weeks
The plank is brilliant for developing strength and muscular endurance in your core,’ says trainer Scott Laidler.
Which is why we’ve incorporated it into our 30 day challenge: Toned tum. ‘But, as with all exercise, be wary of overexertion, keep your workout focused on your personal goals, and if you’re concerned about pre-existing injuries, seek expert advice.’
Laidler also advises you to practise lower strain exercises first, such as the superman (lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs up away from the floor) to assess your core strength. Done the right way the plank can help you strengthen both your upper and lower body, and improve your posture and increase flexibility.
Before your get started, here’s Scott’s safe planking guide
- PROTECT YOUR BACK by keeping it straight, and engage your abdominals to take pressure away from your lower back.
- PLACE YOUR WEIGHT THROUGH YOUR SHOULDERS and ensure they’re in line with your elbow joints.
- STOP IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE and are putting your body under strain.
- GOOD ABDOMINAL-BOOSTING EXERCISES are lunges, reverse crunches and toe taps (lie on your back with your legs forming a right angle and slowly lower one foot to the ground and back up before switching legs.)
6 MOVES TO PLANK YOUR WAY TO THE PERFECT TUMMY
Starting with the basic plank, the additional modifications of the move will increase your strength and tone. But make sure you feel comfortable and are not putting your body under any strain.
PLANKPlace your knees and forearms on a mat on the floor, so you’re on all fours. Take your legs back so you’re suspended in the air, resting on your forearms and your toes. Ensure your body is completely straight and you’re contacting your abs throughout the exercise. Control your breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth.
STRAIGHT ARM PLANK
PLANK WITH RAISED LEG
PLANK WITH JUMPING JACK
Lie on your side on a mat, then prop your body up so you’re resting your forearm – your arm should be at right angles to your body. Straighten out your legs and place one foot on top of the other. Hold and switch sides.
SIDE PLANK WITH THREAD THROUGH
Perform the above move. Then extend the unused arm up so your fingers are pointing towards the ceiling; pause for two seconds. Next, lower that arm and curl it round your body as if you’re going to hug yourself. Hold, then switch sides.
Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to do these tummy toning moves.
See more 30 day challenges here