You do not need any special equipment, just a small amount of space for this exercise–and you’ll be amazed at how well it can tone up your mid and lower abs.

The plank exercise was my saving grace after giving birth to my baby.  Even though I had lost most of my pregnancy weight gain at my baby’s one-year birthday, I still had a very weak abdominal wall, especially in the lower abs where I carried the baby.  I really like this exercise, because it’s old-fashioned and simple.  It’s hard to do ab exercises “right”; we often use other muscles to overcompensate for our weak abs and end up not getting the workout.  But with the plank, you really can’t do it wrong.   The plank is a stationary exercise.  The muscles contract, but there is no joint movement, so there is really no way of moving your muscle out of the tension.

How to do a Plank

  • Start by getting into a push up position, either on your hands or your elbows (elbows is harder).  Your hands/elbows should be in line with your shoulders.
  • Now lift off the ground as if you are doing a push-up and getting stuck.  Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles, parallel to the floor.
    Hold this position for  30 seconds.  Relax for 30.
  • Repeat this at least 3 times.

 

When you’re ready, you will want to progress to holding your plank for 1 minute with a 30 second rest between each, eventually up to a 1 minute 30 second plank with 30 second rests between each set.  1min30 is a good plank, but it will take you some practice to build up to this.  It’s going to feel very difficult while you slowly improve your ab strength to achieve this goal, but you will notice a visible improvement in the natural muscle tension of your entire abdominal area when you can do a set of 3 planks, 30 second rest, 1min30 each.  Don’t give up, it can be done!  And this well may be all you need to eliminate that belly pooch.

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