The plank is one of the best exercises for a flat, toned stomach because it works all the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, hips, and back.
Why not just focus on the six-pack muscles? Strengthening your entire core is not only crucial for sculpting a flat stomach, but these muscles also provide support for the entire body in everyday movements, reduce back pain, and improve posture. Plus, planks burn more calories than sit-ups or crunches because they recruit muscles in the legs, arms, and rear too. It's truly the ultimate total-body toner!
Get into plank ( push up) position on your hands with your abs in tight. Engage your glutes to lift and hold one foot off the floor 20 lifts on one side, and then switch.
Come into top-of-a-pushup position with your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders, arms straight. Set your feet close together and straighten your legs, with your weight on your toes. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Brace your abs and squeeze your glutes to help keep your body rigid. Hold this position for 30 seconds (or 1 minute if you can).
Come into top-of-a-pushup position with your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders, arms straight. Set your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and straighten your legs, with your weight on your toes. Raise and straighten your right arm, with your thumb pointing up. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then switch arms. Continue alternating until your time is up, keeping your hips still for the duration of the exercise.
As always, if you have any questions about your ability to perform these exercises safely, check with your doctor or physical therapist.
Frédo our Fitness Trainer in Antibes on the French Riviera.