Plank – Exercise of the Week
The plank exercise is a staple abdominal and core exercise that is popular with both male and female exercise enthusiasts. One of the greatest things about it is that you only need your own body to complete it – with an exercise mat being optional if you would like a more comfortable layer between you and the floor. As such, this exercise can be completed at Westpark Fitness, at home or even in the likes of a park if you prefer to get some fresh air.
For this exercise, you will need to lie face down on the floor. Make fists with your hands and then set your forearms down onto the floor so that your arms bend at the elbows in a right angle. Remaining in this plank position, bring your feet up onto their toes and raise your body so that it forms a straight line from head to toe. While doing so, make sure to brace your core. Bracing your core means to tense your abdominal muscles – so imagine you were about to be punched in the stomach for example. This tensing of the abdominals is a crucial part of the exercise as it makes sure to keep the muscles working and strengthening throughout the movement. Remain in position for as long as possible, making sure to breathe, before letting your core and feet rest again on the floor.
Note that the plank exercise has many variations that can increase and decrease the difficulty as required. So for example, some may like to stack their feet on top of each other – or even grip a Bosu ball with their hands to increase the difficulty. As pictured above, you can also bend your knees and raise your feet if new to the movement as you get used to the way it feels and build the strength to make it to the standard position. Try and complete sets and repetitions (reps) of the plank exercise to build a strong core – timing yourself each time you hold the movement (ten seconds, thirty seconds, one minute etc.). Ask any of our fitness team for advice on the optimum amount of sets and reps you should complete towards your health and fitness goals and also if you need the exercise to be demonstrated or adapted to suit your fitness level. They are always happy to help!
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