The Most Underrated Ab Exercise

PLANKS.

It may not look like much, but the Plank can’t be beat for building a strong core from the inside out.

MASTER THE PLANK

It’s essential to master the basic front plank before moving on to more advanced variations, because it teaches the foundational cues that make all planking movements effective. And when done consistently and correctly, it will—not can, will—confer mega strength benefits.

Start off by getting into a basic plank position: propped on your forearms, elbows in line with your shoulders, legs shoulder-width apart, and your toes planted firmly.

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The most important element of a good plank is a neutral spine or “flat” back. The most common problem I see in planks is a sinking low back, but the second-most common problem is an arched back with the hips in the air. To keep a neutral spine, imagine pulling your belly button back towards your spine.

Another element of a good plank is proper shoulder position. Be careful not to shrug the shoulders up toward your ears. The final element is head position. Do your best to keep your head neutral, like it is when you stand straight and stare forward. Resist the urge to crane your neck up or let your head droop down towards the floor.

If you do it right, your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. If this isn’t easy, good. Planks are not supposed to be easy. 🙂

Once you’ve mastered the basic plank, you can move onto some fun variations!

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