Fitness Friday 9/11: Strengthen Your Abs with Planks

Happy Friday to you all!  Let's jump right into the fitness today.  Abdominal strength is one of the keys to better posture.  Having a strong middle will help in supporting your body, especially when you are seated, which is particularly important if you work a desk job and are seated for the majority of your day.  A lot of people who sit 8+ hours a day at work (or otherwise) lose muscle in that area over time, which usually leads to increased slouching, rounding of the spine, and poor posture overall.

Planks are a great exercises to strengthen your abs, as well as put your whole body to work.  A tip for doing a plank properly is to think about keeping your spine in a straight line from head to tailbone.  Your butt should be down (not piked in the air) and your shoulders should remain engaged and strong (think of keeping your shoulder blades apart).  Keep your head up and gaze forward to keep the airway open so you can breathe better.  There are endless variations of the move, too, so you can switch them up whenever you're bored with your plank routine.  Here are 3 variations for you to try today... even better if you grab a coworker and try them together!  Let's get started, shall we?

Fitness Friday 9/11: Strengthen Your Abs with Planks

Fitness Friday 9/11

2 x 2 (2 time through, twice today)
The goal time for each plank variation should be 1 minute, with a 15-second break in between.  Feel free to adjust your times up or down based on your own fitness level. :)

Up Down Planks (1 minute) - start in a plank on your elbows, and one arm at a time, raise yourself up to a high plank position (on your hands).  Reverse that to bring yourself back down to a low plank on your elbows again.  Continue for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: you can also do these from your knees.

Knees to Chest in Plank (1 minute) - start in a high plank on your hands, and alternate slowly bringing your knees into your chest, focusing on engaging your abs.  Trainer Tip: if you want to make it harder, hold a plank on your opposite arm/opposite leg, and bring the other elbow to meet your knee.  If you try that version, I'd recommend staying on one side for 30 seconds, then switching.

Hip Touch Planks (1 minute) - start in a low plank position (on your elbows), and rotate your hips to one side while lowering them to the floor.  Keep your abs engaged and legs as straight as you can throughout.  Return to start and immediately rotate to the opposite side.  Keep alternating sides/dips for 1 minute.

Remember to go through each plank exercise 1 more time for the full workout and then once more today to really target your abs. 

Not to end on a depressing note, but I also want to take a minute to recognize the significance of today and to have a moment of silence, if you will, here on the blog for those we lost 14 years ago... 

Readers: chat with me!  What's your favorite plank exercise?  Do you do planks often in your classes or workout routines?  What's up for the weekend?