When it comes to fitness I truly believe that it all starts with core strength. Core strength determines your posture and your ability to accomplish just the basic activities of daily living. To put it bluntly without a strong core you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Many back injuries can be prevented by building core strength.
There are many ways to achieve core strength depending on your fitness goals. One of the best ways is to master the plank. You don't need a gym or any equipment. Planks rely on your own body weight to increase your body's stability. Planks not only strengthen your abs but they help to strengthen and tone your back, shoulders, thighs and butt. It's a one stop shop and one of the most effective full body exercises one can do.
Of course if one has never done a plank before nor well versed in abdominal exercises you want to start on a gradient. I've done a video tutorial for you but you can also read the instructions below the video.
1. Start on all fours making sure that your hands are directly below your shoulders.
2. Step one foot back onto the ball of your foot and then do the same with the opposite foot.
3. Make sure your buttocks is down and you navel is pulled into the spine so there is no pressure on your lower back.
4. Start with a 10 second hold and then come down to all fours and rest.
5. Repeat this several times until the point of fatigue.
You want to work up to holding a plank for a minute or more. This may take some time......a period of a week, or two, or three or even more to build up the strength. Everyone is different. The key is to not give up. You will get stronger. But if you don't do it you won't.
1. Start on all fours as above.
2. Lower arms down, resting on your forearms, fingers interlaced. (You want to make sure that your elbows are wide enough that your shoulders are not up around your ears).
3. Reach your feet back pushing through the balls of your feet.
4. Buttocks down and navel pulled up into the spine. Follow the same time
There are more advanced variations of plank that we will discuss later but in the meantime let's stick with the basics and master the Power of the Plank.