Condition Your Core with THE PLANK
The traditional sit up has its time and place in a workout routine but if you are looking to have true core strength you must move beyond the “Crunch”.
The rectus abdominis is the primary muscle engaged in the classic crunch (runs vertically from the front of the rib cage to the top of the pelvis) but focusing only on this will pull your posture forward without the balancing act of the back muscles and also neglect all the other core muscles (Internal and External Obliques, Transverse muscles and still deeper core muscles not to mention your back muscles)
The goal to conditioning your core and what we work on in class is NOT to isolate one part of the body but to strengthen the CORE as a whole. Your core is connected to your other muscles, limbs and even your mind.
The Plank is one of my all time favorites to teach in class and has many variations but it is imperative to learn the proper technique before moving forward.
1. Start on your elbows or hands and either knees or toes.
2. There are many technique points to cover and are explained in detail in Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans e-book, available here. But here are a few:
a. When on your elbows your palms should be flat to the floor with your middle finger in line with your elbow. If you make a fist with your hands it makes the plank easier – easier doesn’t mean better.
b. Push your shoulders away from each other but squeeze your elbows together
c. Although you are pressing into the floor, feel the energy in your body lifting to the ceiling.
d. Draw your shoulder blades down on your back, imagine a pin under your belly button to keep your back straight
e. The Crown on your head is pointing straight ahead, the back of your head is glued to the ceiling, and your eyes are looking at your finger tips.
**If you are not feeling intense heat in your body or sweating by now, you are not effectively engaging your muscles
f. Keep your hips aligned in a straight line, not too high or too low.
g. Breath and enjoy the lightness and strength in your body
Figure 1 High Plank
Figure 2 High Plank on elbows
Figure 3 Hips are too high
Figure 4 Hips are too low
Core strength is more than having a six-pack; it’s about having great posture, a strong back, to be able to function without pain. Our CORE teaches us to draw on our internal strength, to be steady and be ready to support ourselves when we are thrown off balance.
CORE strength BENEFITS/testimonials from the participants of my classes:
They feel secure on their feet
The fear of falling has disappeared because their balance has improved
Back pain has been greatly reduced or no longer present
Posture has greatly improved and so has their breathing
Stronger pelvic floor muscles
Want more great CORE Conditioning Exercises? Join any of my classes or purchase Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans and do the Thanks to Plank Routine.
I look forward to seeing you in class,