Imagine your heart as a tree trunk. Your lower body represents the roots and your upper body represents the branches. And the daily demands, activities and stresses of life are the hurricane winds that pulverize your metaphorical tree trunk. Do you prefer a thick, rock-solid base supporting the branches or a flimsy twig that snaps under pressure? We guess the first. That’s why we’re here to help you strengthen your core with an expert-approved workout. After all, strengthening your core offers several other health benefits beyond building beach-worthy washboard abs.
Research shows that having a strong core can help prevent injury, improve balance and posture, stabilize the lower back, improve core stability, improve physical performance, and more. According to experts from Health line.
However, you’re probably busy and want to know the most effective way to strengthen that tree trunk (your core) in the least amount of time. That’s why we talked to Kate Meier, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, who shares a killer plank workout to help build a stronger core in no time. All you need is 10 minutes and a clean floor to put the board on. No equipment is needed!
“Complete two laps of the following plank circuit. Hold each plank for 45 seconds to a minute, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next plank,” says Meier.
Read on for this stellar, fast-paced workout, and watch your core strength soar. Then check out the 5-Minute Standing Workout for a Strong Core.
Most of these exercises start with this classic plank move. First, get on all fours on a mat with your shoulders and elbows stacked above your hands. Next, step your feet out until your legs are fully extended, then lower yourself onto your elbows with your forearms flat on the mat and pointing forward. Hold this position without moving for the allotted time.
“The crucial aspect of a perfect plank is keeping your hips aligned with your shoulders and ankles, which requires engaging your core and glutes throughout the plank,” Meier explains. “If a full plank is too difficult, get down on your knees but keep the same posture otherwise.”
The next step is the reach plank. First, get into a classic plank position as described above, then extend one of your arms forward while keeping the rest of your body stationary.
“Move slowly and with control, then pause briefly with your arm fully extended. Then, return to the starting position before switching arms. Remember to keep your shoulders and hips facing the mat while you finish every rep,” says Meier.
Again, focus on staying steady in this position as you balance yourself and extend your reach.
Prepare to surpass yourself with this next one.
“Start in a basic plank position, then lift one of your feet while keeping your leg straight. This will probably be a small movement for most people, but the key is to move slowly and lift your leg to a height. that makes you feel the movement of your glutes and the leg on the side you’re lifting,” says Meier.
Be sure to raise your leg as high as possible without moving your hips and keep your spine straight to reduce the risk of injury. Return to the starting position before switching legs.
The side plank will have you deviate from the classic plank position to balance yourself one side at a time. To prepare for a side plank, lie sideways on a mat, then prop yourself on your elbow while keeping your knees on the mat. Next, raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
“Your hips should be facing forward when you hold this position,” says Meier. “If holding a side plank for the entire time is too difficult, try holding for five to 10 seconds and coming back down for a second, then repeating this cycle for the allotted time.”
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Learn more about Adam
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