Now that spring is in the air and the sun’s rays are are drawing us outside to soak up some vitamin D, why not combine that tanning session with a little exercise to get your body in shape for your summer wardrobe? With just one simple exercise, a few minutes a day can give you a noticeably toner body in just a couple of weeks.
Which miraculous exercise is it, you ask??? Front planks, of course.
Yes, you all know of them, and whether you love them or hate them there is no dispute that they are one of the MOST EFFECTIVE strengthening exercises there is. The front plank works muscle groups from head to toe including the neck, shoulders, biceps, chest, abs, lower back, buttocks, thighs and calves…and did I mention abs??? When done correctly, this basic exercise will tone your stomach, reduce back pain, increase flexibility, improve your posture, and put you in a good mood. A good mood? Yes. Front planks stretch the muscle groups that become stiff from prolonged sitting, and this tension release is uplifting for the spirit.
So, let’s get this done so you can flip over onto your back and get some color on your cheeks.
A correct positioning is key. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders and your wrists in line with your elbows. Now push your body up off the floor, brace your abdominals and squeeze your glutes and thigh muscles while breathing normally. Hold this position for as long as you can (for example, 60 seconds), then rest for 60 seconds, now repeat for half the time of your first plank (thus, 30 seconds), rest 60 seconds, and then hold a third and last plank again for the same time as the second (30 seconds). Done. You can use your smartphone stopwatch to keep track of your hold and rest periods. Do it each day, increasing the time of your first plank for as long as you can (on the second day maybe 64 seconds and the 2nd and 3rd planks would be held for 32 seconds). Regardless of plank time, keep the rest period at 60 seconds which, by the way, is ample time for a quick sip of water to keep you hydrated!
Options to power-up the level of difficulty include: lifting one leg off the ground (without tilting the hips) or alternately reaching forward with one arm (again, maintain posture by keeping the hips as motionless as possible).
Do this regularly and when strapless season is back in town you’ll be doing double-takes at your reflection in the mirror!