The Most Underrated Ab Exercise


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


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.


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!



Primadonna Fitness has a NEW LOOK!

Hello everyone & Happy 2015!

I apologize for the break in posts. I have had trouble choosing a host domain for our website. Primadonna Fitness was originally through GoDaddy, but I have personally decided to change servers due to recent campaigns within their company.

Instead of our primary domain will be (simple enough, right?)

It is a NEW YEAR & I have TONS of plans on the table for Primadonna Fitness.


  • DAILY Heath & Fitness Posts
  • Seasonal Workout Challenges
  • A Fitwear Line- Flex Appeal Apparel
  • In-Gym Seminars
  • Youtube Channel to Show Exercises & Proper Form
  • Personal Training Testimonials

I’m so excited to be back with you all! Let’s show 2015 who’s boss! 🙂


Jill LaMancuso

Primadonna Fitness Founder


“…just like dust, I’ll rise.”

Figure Food: Berry Parfait

Figure Food: Berry Parfait

This is one of my favorite AM treats! I love starting my morning with fresh fruits, especially antioxidant-filled berries! This parfait is super simple AND you can dress it up according to your taste! 🙂

I use 1 cup of plain Chobani greek yogurt
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill granola
“drizzle” of fresh, organic honey
1 strawberry (bottom of the glass) sliced
“handful” of rasberries & blackberries

***You can use whatever toppings you like! Fresh fruit, dried fruits (beware of the hidden sugars!) oats, granola, unsweetened coconut, your favorite healthy cereal… the list goes on & on.***

NOTE: Adding fresh fruit & toppings to your PLAIN yogurt is a good way to spice it up :). Many flavored yogurts have hidden sugars & undesirable ingredients. I like to use plain yogurt to avoid the not-so-healthy ingredients, as well as the added sugars, which in turn up the carb count. I like to get most of my carbs from “clean” foods- such as berries, plain granola & organic honey.


5 Tips To Jumpstart Your Interval Training

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) may seem a little chaotic at first. With all the information provided on HIIT, starting from scratch can be a daunting task. However, a little planning can make all the difference! Train smarter, not longer by following these 5 tips:

Tip #1 Start Slow & Build Up

High-intensity intervals are extremely effective at blasting calories, boosting metabolism and burning fat, but they can be tough on the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Age and fitness level can have an impact on how quickly we recover.

If you are new to intervals- start with 1 or 2 high-intensity sessions a week to avoid overtraining. This will allow the body to replenish its energy stores while adapting to the increased workload.

Tip #2 Mix It Into What You Love

HIIT can be accomplished through almost any exercise. If you love lifting, incorporate weights. If you love the treadmill, do HIIT with walking and sprinting. Doing what you know and love will decrease your chances of mental fatigue. Doing what you love will also prevent workout boredom. NOTHING is worse than dreading a workout!

Tip #3 Pick a Plan

When it comes to intervals, most of us can use some help trying to figure out what program will work for us. There are a lot of fancy names (Tabata, Little Method, etc.) but I suggest simply picking intervals based on your fitness level.

For example, if you are doing weight training intervals I would suggest 30 seconds of high intensity work and 30 seconds of rest. If you are doing HIIT on the treadmill, I would suggest 1-minute of high intensity sprinting followed by 1-minute of walking.

The important thing here is to increase your heart rate via high intensity work then decrease your heart rate with a short rest period.

Tip #4 Keep on the Clock

Use a stopwatch, wristwatch, or a smartphone app to push through and get the most out of each session. When performing high-intensity work, it is tempting to go until we feel that familiar burn- and then stop to catch our breath. Most people are poor judges of time under fatigue, your mind will quit before your body does. That is why it is important to keep a clock with honest, hard intervals to prevent stopping too soon.

I use the smartphone app, Seconds -it is pretty straight forward and easy to use.

Tip #5 Make Small Changes for a Big Challenge

If you have a few months of HIIT under your belt, it is time to tweak your workout. In fact, everyone should tweak their workout every once in a while because it keeps your body guessing. A few small changes can make all the difference! Increase the incline on the treadmill or wear a weighted vest. Increasing your ratio of work-to-rest will also build more endurance, even by increasing your workload by just a few seconds.



Primadonna Fitness

Find What Motivates You


“80 percent of success is showing up.” -Woody Allen

How do you find the motivation to exercise when you just don’t feel like getting up off your butt? I ask myself this questions every now and then, and I have a feeling that I’m not the only one.

There are numerous ways to motivate yourself to exercise, a million. But everyone is different. Something that motivates one person may not motivate another. I’m going to share my top 5 motivators that have worked for me and, hopefully, a few will work for you!

  1. How you feel after a workout. This has to be my top motivator. I feel great, amazing, strong, sexy, and invincible after a workout. It’s high that I’ve become addicted to. I let that high serve as my motivation for the next time. “You know how good you’re going to feel, Jill!”
  2. YOU time. Many of us spend our days taking care of things- at our workplace, our home, our children, our families. Most of us lead such busy lifestyles that we forget to take care of ourselves!  A workout lets you spend time taking caring of you… for you! It should be a priority!
  3. Fitness Blogs. I often read fitness blogs if I feel like I need extra motivation. Other people’s success inspires me. Plus, it is a great way to acquire new exercise tips and tricks.
  4. Exercise Classes. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym alone. I find it easier to get out of the house if I know I have to be at an exercise class at X time. I also find the instructors and/or individuals in my exercise class to be extreme motivators!
  5. Motivational Quotes. I like to print them out in pretty fonts and colors and hang them on my wall, use them as a background on my cellphone, desktop, or under a fridge magnet.

So, what motivates you? Please share!


Primadonna Fitness

Rosie The Riveter: Still On The Job At 93


Do you recognize this woman?

She’s Rosie the Riveter. You know, the name of the popular song that celebrated the strong woman that supported the war effort by filling tens of thousands of jobs that were left behind by men to fight overseas? Yeah. She’s real.

Elinor Otto, 93, was one of the original Rosie the Riveter girls. Otto wakes up at 4-o-clock in the morning and drives to the Boeing plant in Long Beach, California. She’s not there to deliver cookies, she’s there to work! Otto’s job consists of inserting rivets into the wing sections of C-17 cargo planes. Talk about strength.

In fact, Otto has worked at numerous aircraft assembly plants, but it all started with Rosie the Riveter girls in 1942. “We were part of this big thing,” Otto explained. “We hoped we’d win the war. We worked hard as women, and were proud to have that job.”

Her job paid a mere 65 cents an hour. That’s 39 dollars less than what she makes now. But she enjoyed the work, the routine, the camaraderie, and the visits to the dance hall on the weekends to kick back with her friends from the plant.

With the end of the war, so came the end of the Rosie the Riveters. “Within days we were gone,” states Otto.

Otto tried other fields of work, but office jobs never appealed to her. She worked as a carhop for a short while, but left when they told her she had to perform the job on roller skates. Luckily, SoCal’s aircraft industry came out of the war booming. Otto was an “ace” with the rivet gun, which earned her a spot on the line doing the job she loved- riveting.

She buried her mother, went through a couple marriages, had a son, had a grandson, but happily took her spot on the assembly line month after month, year after year, decade after decade.

Otto explains, “I’m a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work. I like to get up, get out of the house, and get something accomplished each day.”

And, oh boy, what she has accomplished. The list is long. Her most important accomplishment, however, is serving as an inspiration.

“When I think to myself, ‘Why am I slowing up? Why am I home?’ I think that, ‘Elinor is at work and Elinor is 93!'” Her boss, Don Pitcher, explained.

But she isn’t just an inspiration to her boss, her co-workers adore her, and Long Beach honored her with a Rosie the Riveter Park this month.

More importantly, and the reason why I am sharing this story with you on my blog, Elinor Otto serves as a strong inspiration to all women out there. The Woman’s Empowerment Movement has come a long way, and she’s been there through it. She plowed through traditional gender roles and followed her passion, despite what others had to say.

How long will she work? Her answer was simple– As long as she can. Most likely, until sometime next year when her Boeing plant finishes off their last and final contract for those C-17 cargo planes.

“I’ll be the one that closes that door,” Otto said. “I’ll be the last one there.”

Now that’s leaving with a bang. A bang that only a strong woman could deliver.

(Information from NBC News sources)


Primadonna Fitness