Plank exercises are a wonderful way to strengthen the muscles in your core (your stomach, back, and rear) and arms.
What is the first thing we do when we stumble?
Unless you have special training (like martial arts, which teaches a "tuck and roll"), we put our hand out to catch us. If our arms are not strong - especially in the elderly or those who have weak bones - we can injure one of the eight bones in the wrist or a bone in the forearm.
Straight Arm Plank
Try this first exercise.
The first plank exercise will be a little easier than the others below because it recruits your triceps to help hold you up.
You can modify this by leaving your knees touching the mat
until you are strong enough to bring them up into that full, core strengthenig exercise.
The goal is to hold this position one full minute. If you aren’t there yet, that’s just fine. Start out with 15 second plank exercises several times a day.
Your core muscles will become stronger and you will find you can hold your planks longer and longer until you find yourself doing them just for fun!
This is the second option you can try. It is a bit more challenging because those triceps can’t help you as much as in the position above.
As always, make sure you are taking nice even breaths and don’t clench your hands (Your hands tingling or going numb means you are likely not doing it quite right). Keep your
abdominals engaged and your head at a natural angle, like when you are standing.
Remember to do this in intervals. We are not trying to hurt ourselves, nor are we trying to break any records. Listen to your body (unless it says, "Give up and go have another slice of cheesecake!"), and take breaks as often as you need them.
Straight Arm Side Plank
This final side plank exercise is the most challenging. You can start off with the full arm to recruit those triceps then come down to just the forearm. Imagine keeping your body as straight as a board during all these exercises.
If you feel like you are losing good form, take a short rest and try, try again.
Noting pays off like perseverance for the Fitness Woman!
Remember, if you are trying to figure out how to modify the planks to fit your level all you need to do is listen to your body. The idea is to be challenged, but not over do it. Always be ready to push yourself to the next level, but don't be afraid to take your time right where you currently are. Consistent diligence is the benefactor who pays the highest dividends.
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