Happy Monday, Fit Friends! I hope everyone had an amazing weekend! I spent mine with my family in Huntington Beach, working out, hanging out, and getting plenty of sun and amazing healthy food!
I’m so excited to be blogging more and to be sharing this amazing and adorable outfit from Beyond Yoga! It’s apparently National Ice Cream MONTH (ummm, yasssssss!) and Beyond Yoga and Coolhaus (an LA ice cream shop) teamed up to create the cutest yoga outfit of all time! I mean, really it doesn’t get cuter!
I get asked constantly about what the BEST exercise is to tone your core and to almost EVERYONE’s surprise, it’s NOT hundreds of crunches, it’s holding planks! That’s right a plank is my key to success when it comes to getting my toned stomach. Even though I had my extra skin removed, if you haven’t read that blog it’s linked here, I still work on strengthening my core daily to help make sure it says flat and toned.
Not only are planks amazing for your core, but they are also a great full-body workout. Isometric planks (where you hold the plank for at least 30 seconds) engage your shoulders, back, core, glutes, thighs (inner & outer), and even your toes and heels! When you are losing weight or trying to lower your body fat you want to maximize the muscles you are engaging to burn the most in the least amount of time. Makes sense?! Okay, let’s do my favorite planks together below!
My 6 Favorite Planks!
Make sure you keep your wrists, elbows, and shoulders aligned. Engage your core, and squeeze your glutes and inner thighs together. Make sure the entire body is activated and engaged. Keep palms glued to the mat, with all the air out from underneath the palms, weight in the toes and palms. Make sure to not let your hips dip and sink into your lower back. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
HIGH PLANK WITH FOOT RAISES
Set up the exact same way as above. Once you are strong, steady, and engaged, alternate raising your legs high one at a time. Make sure to keep your weight centered and not fall to one side or the other (keep that core engaged the entire time!). Think about keeping your hips straight and thighs engaged. Hold the leg in the air for 3 seconds and then switch. Do this 10 times per leg.
The classic plank! This oldie but goodie is great if you have issues with your wrists. Same alignment as above, palms and forearms flat to the mat, elbows aligned with shoulders. Neck long, shoulder blades high and engaged and hips centered! Hold this plank for as long as you can. It might only be 30 seconds at first, drop to your knees for a small break, and continue until you fatigue completely.
Side planks took me a very long time to actually build up the strength to hold myself up for more than 2 seconds at a time, but after a solid 6 months of trying, I’m finally able to actually hold them about 20 seconds a side! The alignment here is still very similar it’s just on one side. Palms flat to the mat, elbows, and shoulders aligned, thighs, calves, and feet stacked on top of each other and extend the opposite arm up to the sky. Side planks are amazing for working on balance as well. I tend to really squeeze my glutes and focus on raising my hips up high, you will feel an amazing soreness in your obliques if you are doing this correctly when you wake up the next morning! Hold each side for 20 seconds to a minute and then switch to the other side and do the same hold.
These are so amazing for your obliques! Dip side to side for a minute, pause, and then repeat 3 times! I love doing these back to back with mountain climbers as well for full core engagement and cardio!
PLANK SHOULDER TAPS
Another great core, balance, and oblique move that will really tone the belly area and build up some beautiful strength. Focus on keeping your hips square and not moving side to side. The only thing that should be moving is your hands crossing over to tap your shoulders! Do a minute with alternating shoulder taps, pause and repeat 3 times!
Phew! I hope you enjoyed these plank variations and will try them at home, at the beach, traveling, where ever you go, because the best part about planking is you can do them ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!
Comment below and let me know your favorite way to plank!