Why – To build core strength and stability
WHAT – The plank (sometimes knows as a hover) is a great core strength and toning exercise that can be done anywhere on firm ground. The abdominals and spinal muscles are the main muscles used. There are also stabilizing muscles that are activated including the msucles around the shoulder, chest, thighs and calf.
HOW – Begin with laying on the floor supported by your forearms and toes – keeping your body rigid and straight rise up onto your toes (as per pictures). Ensure your body does not sag or that your bottom is not pointing skyward. Your head should be relaxed and looking at the ground. Try to hold for as long as you comfortably can then work to increase time over a period of weeks. Do not continue the exercise beyond the time where you can comfortably hold the position. Beginners should plank from the knees not the toes.
WHEN – Start with this exercise once or twice a week in front of the television during a commercial. Slowly progress to doing the exercise daily and work towards increasing the duration. Remember technique is more important that duration.
Disclaimer – Exercise can be dangerous. You should know your blood pressure and have clearance from a Doctor before starting an exercise program. Women who are pregnant or have a pelvic floor weakness should seek medical advice before commencing this exercise. This is an example exercise which is not being specifically recommended for you.