Take our plank challenge, and a stronger, sleeker body could be yours.
The plank is brilliant for developing strength and muscular endurance in your core. But, as with all exercise, be wary of overexertion, keep your workout focused on personal goals, and if you’re concerned about pre-existing injuries, seek expert advice.
It’s good advice to practise lower strain exercises first, such as the superman (lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs up away from the floor) to assess your core strength.
Done the right way the plank can help you strengthen both your upper and lower body, and improve your posture and increase flexibility.
6 Moves to plank your way to the perfect tummy
Starting with the basic plank, the additional modifications of the move will increase your strength and tone. But make sure you feel comfortable and are not putting your body under any strain.
Place your knees and forearms on a mat on the floor, so you’re on all fours. Take your legs back so you’re suspended in the air, resting on your forearms and your toes. Ensure your body is completely straight and you’re contracting your abs throughout the exercise. Control your breathing-in through the nose, out through the mouth.
2 Straight arm plank
Follow the above move, but support your upper body by placing your palms on the floor and straightening your arms.
3 Plank with raised leg
Perform the basic plank move (either with forearms or hands supporting you), then raise your right leg off the floor, Keep your core engaged to maintain your balance. Hold, then swich legs.
4 Plank with jumping jack
Start in the basic plank position with hands flat on the floor. Then jump both legs out to the side away from each other and back in again.
5 Side plank
Lie on your side on a mat, then prop your body up so you’re resting on your forearm, your arm should be at right angles to your body. Straighten out your legs and place one foot on top of the other. Hold and switch sides.
6 Side plank and thread through
Perform the above move. Then extend the unused arm so your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling, pause for two seconds. Next, lower the arm and curl it round your body as if you’re going to hug yourself. Hold, then switch sides.