Beginners Plank

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Planks are a fantastically versatile exercise and work over 20 muscles in the body, primarily the core but also the shoulders, back , arms, legs and glutes. They also have the added benefit of working your core hard without the risks of back and neck injuries associated with traditional ab exercises, like the sit up. They can also be done anywhere! So mastering a few plank moves and including them in your strength and conditioning workout is a great idea. Here's three basic plank moves that when mastered with help you with other more challenging planks as you get stronger.

The Standard Plank (on hands)

Start kneeling on the floor with hands directly below your shoulders. Lift your knees until you are supporting your weight on just your hands and toes. Open your fingers to give you a stable, strong hold. Hold your body in a straight line with your hands over your shoulders and your heels over your hands. Engage your core and watch you don't let your stomach droop or your bum stick up in the air (straight line with your body). Hold for as long as you can.

Knee Plank

If you find the standard plank too difficult, try this knee plank. Lower your knees to the ground and engage your core tight (bring your bellybutton into your spine). Hold this for as long as you can. When you get stronger, try moving up to the standard plank.

Rocking Plank

From the standard plank (on hand or on elbows), rock forward on your toes and as you do your shoulders will move past your hands. Then push backwards so your heels extend beyond your toes and your shoulders are above your hands again. Slowly and controlled continue this movement.