Fitness Friday 2/26: Plank It Out

Today's Fitness Friday mini workout is all about the planks!  The Fitness Friday mini workout series is designed for you to get some movement in during your workdays and so you have an idea of some exercises you can do in your office or cubicle while at work.  They're not intended to make you sweat so much as to be a reminder to get up out of your desk chair and move your body.  Ready to get on with the workout?  Grab a coworker and let's move!

Fitness Friday 2/26: Plank It Out

Fitness Friday 2/26: Plank It Out

2 x 3: 2 times through, 3 times today.
Each plank variation is done for 1 minute, and go through the full set of 3 two times for one mini workout.

Up Down Plank - start in a low plank (on your elbows).  Walk yourself up to a high plank on your hands by moving one hand underneath your shoulder and pushing yourself up.  Push the other arm up so your arms are now straight (and hands are flat on the floor, spine aligned.  Walk yourself back down onto your elbows, one arm at a time.  Keep the pattern going for 1 minute, switching which arm leads halfway through.

Birddog Plank - start in high plank, lifting your right arm and left leg simultaneously.  Hold this position for 5 seconds.  Drop them down and switch sides.  Alternate in this pattern every 5 seconds for 1 minute, maintaining spinal alignment and a strong core throughout.  Trainer Tip: if the high plank version is too much, drop the move down to your knee.

Knee-to-Chest Plank - get into a high plank position on your hands, abs pulled in tight.  Alternate bringing your knees in to the opposite sides of your chest slowly.  Keep your hips down and spine aligned.  Keep going for 1 minute.

Remember to go through that once more for the full mini workout, and 2 more times throughout your day today.  Have fun with it!

Readers: chat with me!  Do you incorporate exercises into your workdays at all?  What ones do you do?  Do you do planks in your workout routines?  Any favorite variations?  What's everyone up to for the weekend?

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?

No Equipment At Home Ab Strengthening Workout

Happy Monday to you all!  How was your weekend?  Mine was pretty good - I taught an abs & core strength class on Saturday morning, which always starts my weekend off on the right foot.  Then I spent the afternoon cleaning out my closet in preparation for my move.  I really don't know where all these clothes came from!  I have bags upon bags of them to consign and donate... it's a bit overwhelming!  Sunday was productive, too - a stay at home day filled with chores.  What did you all do?  Anything fun?

On to the fitness for today... Last week I posted quite a few workouts, but the one that you all seemed to like the most was this 10-Minute Ab Burner with Alternating Planks.  Quick ab workouts are super popular now (who doesn't love a strong core?), so here's another one for you!  It's quick and effective, and best of all, you don't need any equipment to do it.  Ready?

No Equipment At Home Ab Workout

No Equipment At Home Ab Strengthening Workout

All you need is some floor space.  Let's get started!

30 In & Outs - sit down on the floor, legs extended with hands by your sides, elbows on the ground.  Bring your knees to your chest (and chest to your knees), using your abdominals to pull your legs in and chest up.  Your elbows should come off the ground, but hands stay planted.  Do 30 total.  Trainer Tip: if you want to increase the intensity, take your hands off the floor and extend them overhead.

20 Knee-to-Chest Planks + Leg Raise (each side) - start in a plank on your hands and bring your right knee into your chest.  Immediately extend it back out and without touching it to the ground, raise it up as high as you can while maintaining the plank position.  Keep that pattern going for 20 continuous reps on the right side without letting your foot touch the ground.  Once done on the right, switch to the left for 20.

2-Minute Banana Rolls - start on your back, arms by your ears and legs out straight, hovering over the ground.  Maintaining your arm and leg position throughout, hold that position for 15 seconds, then roll over onto your right side.  Hold for 15 seconds.  Then onto your stomach - hold for 15.  Finally, roll onto your left side and hold for 15.  Do that pattern once more (back, right, stomach, left), holding for 15 seconds in each position for a total of 2 minutes. 

20 Side Plank Hip Dips (each side) - start out in a side plank, either on your elbow (easier) or up on your hand (harder).  From this position, dip your hips down, keeping your feet stacked and shoulder over your wrist/elbow.  Now raise your hips up to slightly higher than starting position. Continue the dips for 20 on each side.

30 Heels to the Sky - lie on your back, legs straight above you, feet flexed so the bottoms are parallel to the ceiling.  Using only your abs to move yourself, lift your butt & lower back up off the floor, driving your heels straight up toward the ceiling.  Lower yourself back down slowly, keeping your legs raised above you the entire time.  Do 30 lifts.  Trainer Tip: if you need a little support, place your hands under your lower back.

Remember to go through that one more time for the full workout!  Enjoy it!  Your abs will thank you. :)

Readers: chat with me!  Do you do workouts at home?  If so, what's your favorite exercise?  How about your favorite ab exercise?  How was your weekend?