women

These creative core exercises will help flatten your stomach and improve your posture

You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll say it again -the plank is one of the best abdominal exercises ever. It’ll help flatten your abs, improve your posture and work your core, which helps stabilize your body and prevent injury. It also works your arms, shoulders and upper back. Keep challenging yourself and stay motivated with some of our favorite variations. Enjoy

Stomach

If your stomach starts to give way, or you feel pinching in your lower back, place your knees on the floor and reset your body.

Gluts

Squeeze your gluts to tone them as you work your abs and shoulders

Elbows

Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders

Shoulders

Pull your shoulder blades back and down, while sticking your chest out and up.

Hips

Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. Keep an eye on your hips, knees, stomach and shoulders.

Keep It Simple

1.    Classic Plank

Don’t drop your hips, or you’ll put extra pressure on your lower back and won’t get the full benefit of the move!

Time: 60 seconds

Benefits: Helps build a strong core, while improving your posture and working your arms, shoulders and back.

How to do it:

·         Starting at the top of a push-up position, bend your elbows and lower yourself down until you can shift your weight from your hands to your forearms -your body should form a straight line, as above.

·         Brace your abs (imagine someone’s about to punch you in the stomach), squeeze your Glutes and hold.

2.    Spice It Up

Spider(Wo)Man Plank

Reps: 10 (5 each side)

Benefits: Works your deep core muscles and obliques (at the sides of your waist to cinch you in).

Spice It Up

·         Start in the top of a press-up position with your core braced and your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles (a).

·         Lift your left foot off the floor and slowly bring your knee in towards your left elbow, as close as you can (b).

·         Pause, then place your foot back on the floor where it started.

·         Repeat with your right leg (c).

3.    Side Plank

Advanced Tip: Bring your bottom knee into your chest to challenge your balance and abs even more.

Side Plank

Side Plank

Time: 30 seconds each side

Benefits: Challenges your core from a different angle while working your obliques and shoulders.

·         Lie on your right side with your legs and feet stacked.

·         Shift your weight onto your right forearm. Open your chest and place your left hand on your hip (a).

·         Lift your right foot and place it on top of your left leg, keeping your right elbow and shoulder in a straight line (b).

·         With each breath, contract your abs a little bit harder

4.    Up, Down Plank

Reps: 10 each arm

Benefits: Tests your co-ordination and core stability as you work extra hard to keep your body in a straight line during the move.

·         Start in a press-up position with your arms and legs straight and your hands under your shoulders (a).

(a)

(a)

·         Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your core and avoid straining your lower back. Keeping your torso parallel to the floor, lower your right forearm to the mat (b), then the left (c), so you’re in an elbow plank.

·         Next, step your right hand back onto the mat (d), then the left, pushing yourself back up to start position (e).

·         Try to avoid swaying your torso from side to side throughout this move.

• Try to avoid swaying your torso from side to side throughout this move.

Try to avoid swaying your torso from side to side throughout this move.

Stretch It Out!

AB Stretch

Hold for 20 seconds.

Benefits: Relieves tension in your abs to help avoid aches the next day.

AB Stretch

AB Stretch

·         Lie on your stomach, hands on the floor at shoulder level.

·         Straighten your arms, lifting your upper body off the floor, but keeping your hips firmly

·         on the ground.

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