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5

The Most Effective Plank Exercises

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Often, people are reluctant to attempt a plank because they’ve heard that you have to hold a long-lever plank for 5 minutes in order to be “cool.” Not true. Planks are accessible to nearly everyone, as many versions exist.K planking in Thailand

Want to perform a #fitness plank? This video shows 4 different modifications, & instructions… Click To Tweet

Proper Technique:

  • Planks are more effective if you rest on your elbows, not your hands
  • Elbows directly below the shoulders
  • Hands loose and relaxed; a correlation exists between clenched fists and breath-holding
  • It’s better for your lower back to have your hips slightly piked rather than dropped, though a straight line is your goal
  • Pretend you are wearing a belt, and tighten all places where it would touch

One caveat: We mention holding for 30 seconds in the video, but research also indicates you can hold for as little as 20, take a short break, then get back into plank position. Whether you choose 20 or 30 second intervals, stick with the plank position that gives you the best form.

12

Planks: The No Crunch, No Head Lifting Abs Exercise

Planks are Great for Women Over 50

Alexandra planking at Lizard's Mouth

Who cares about rock hard abs when you can plank on rocks?

Have you heard you have to hold a long-lever plank for 5 minutes in order to be “cool” or to achieve results? Are you reluctant to attempt this classic ab exercise because that goal seems out of reach? Good news! As few as 20 seconds doing planks with good form will strengthen your core and work your abs. As well, you don’t need to crunch, flex your neck, or lift up your head. Check out the benefit of dropping down after 20 seconds and restarting in this post we wrote on short duration planking: Interval Planks Will Activate Your Abs

 

Ultimate Abs binder imagePlanks are accessible to nearly everyone, as many versions exist.  If you are a beginner planker, start on your knees. If you want a bit more challenge, but are not yet ready for a parallel plank on your toes, place your feet wide apart.  If you want a ton more ideas to improve your abs, then take advantage of the program we created specifically for baby boomers: The Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50.

What is Good Planking Form?

Planking in Australia

The Tourist Plank at the Sydney Opera House in Australia

Good question. Even better answer is to keep reading as we offer bullets below and a video demo. AAAAaaand, pop over to our post that has another video going over dos and don’ts.Planking in Australia

How to Do Planks: Beginner to Intermediate Video

If you’re considering adding planks to your fitness regimen, watch our video. You’ll see four different modifications, and instructions for good form.

 

 

As few as 20 seconds doing planks w/ good form will strengthen your core & work your abs Click To Tweet

 

Kymberly planks in Thailand

We admit – not for beginners or those afraid of heights. Thailand Tourist Plank

Hot Tips from Certified Fitness Instructors (Yeah, that would be us) on How to Get the Most Out of Your Planks

Proper Technique:

  • Rest on your elbows, not your hands, (unless you are taking photos of yourself in exotic places around the world)
  • Place your elbows directly below your shoulders
  • Keep your hands loose and relaxed; a correlation exists between clenched fists and breath-holding
  • Try to keep your body in a straight line from head to knees or toes. If you need to bend, it’s less stressful on your lower back to have your hips slightly piked (lifted) than dropped
  • Pull your navel towards your spine while keeping your spine long
  • Breathe, people, breathe!
Kymberly planks in Cambria rain

We’ll plank anywhere, anytime, in any weather. Photo credit: Alexandra Williams

One caveat: We mention holding for 30 seconds in the video, but research also indicates you can hold for as little as 20, take a short break, then get back into plank position. Whether you choose 20 or 30 second intervals, stick with the plank position that gives you the best form.

 

Get Ultimate Abs (Better Yet, a Strong Core)

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Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

 

20

Interval Planks Will Activate Your Abs

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Planks to strengthen your core? For sure! We love planks and hope you do too. Aaaand, we just got ahold of some interesting news about a great way to progress your ab strength via planks (Hint: It’s not about going longer).

Plink, plank, plunk, who’d a thunk that holding a plank for a long time might be LESS effective than another approach?! Specifically, you may require your abs to turn on more and more often from  interval planks as opposed to holding a plank longer and longer. Well, yippee yi yay as we’d much rather stay in the plank position 20 seconds or so, then drop down for a very short break, then come back into the exercise. Gotta love the options that are not only more accessible, but also more beneficial!

Holding a plank for a long time might be LESS effective than another approach. Click To Tweet

For more plank ideas (and actual exercises!) check out some of our previous posts:

A position we’ve long held is that you will get the latest and most accurate fitness info when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the sidebar.

We have entered a contest by Anytime Fitness that we really want to win. Please click now on the link and give us your vote. We are the twins on the ball who are “flying” through the silver air! Thank you. P.S. It will take about 7 seconds of your time, and we do appreciate every vote!

17

Your Fitness Bucket List

Why do you exercise? Deep down, on those days you have to talk yourself into getting your sweat on, what motivates you to work out?

On my bucket list? Climb ever higher!

No doubt you are inspired by more than wanting to look good or have a 6-pack, or lose weight. Even with those goals, what happy thing happens once you achieve them? We were posed with this question and had to think a moment.

Actually, we had the question posed a different, more fun way: “What is on your Fitness Bucket List?”  That sounds more enticing, right? So tell us – what’s in your bucket? Does your list include performing certain exercise feats? For example, do you want to:

  • Complete a half marathon?
  • Hold a plank for 3 minutes?
  • Finally do the splits (and walk afterwards!).
  • Hit a certain time or distance on the treadmill?

Or would you put activities on your bucket list that you would enjoy once you are more fit? For instance, sky dive (let’s just state here and now for the record that neither of us has that particular goal. Hurl! But you might!). Or you’d tackle that hiking trail over the mountains and through the woods? Maybe you have a plan to travel the world and haul your own luggage or backpack as soon as you get stronger. (We like the plan that offers bellpersonage service, frankly).

Pinterest Board of Bucket List

Kymberly's Fitness Bucket List

Now if you are wondering about OUR Fitness Bucket List, why thanks! Don’t mind if we do share! We worked up Pinterest boards entitled “Fitness Bucket List.” I know, we got all creative and wacky on you there! To be accurate, the CEO of FitFluential,* Kelly Olexa challenged us to create such a board. And we take doubledown dares as we are double time twins!

Alexandra: It took me a while to start my list, because I feel like I’m mostly doing what it is I like to do already, but I do love walking and travel, so I really want to go to various places in the world and walk. I love walking in the mountains, the city, country trails, along the beach, almost anywhere. Not hiking and camping – bleech. I hate camping. I love walking. And I’d really love to learn the Dougie from our First Lady Michelle Obama. And anything that involves disco would be on my list too. Maybe a lesson on dancing the entire scene from “Saturday Night Fever” that John Travolta did to “You Should Be Dancing.” If I could memorize that routine and do it that well I’d be pretty happy.

Pinterest Board with Fitness Bucket List

Alexandra's Fitness Bucket List

Feel free to check out our Fitness Bucket List boards to discover our activity/ movement/ workout/ exercise/ fitnessy dreams. Follow our boards while you’re there.

Kymberly’s Pinterest board

Alexandra’s Pinterest board

Kymberly: If you have followed our blog for any time you will not be shocked to hear that my numero uno dream is for us to be the first twins on Dancing With the Stars. And not the first twins to be eliminated either! I also recognized how much I enjoy water sports such as paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling – as long as the water is warm and calm.  This is one area Alexandra and I  totally differ as A-twin re-enacts the melting scene from Wizard of Oz when she gets near water.  Another huge item on my list is for medical technology to make strides and find a way to give me back the knee joints I had in my twenties. Aaaaaah, to run and jump again with ease and freedom!

Once you make your list or create a Pinterest Fitness Bucket board, you will notice something veeeeerrrry interesting – themes and trends reveal themselves. At least for us, they did. Give it a whirl. Then tell us all about it in the comments below. We’re waiting! Impatiently.

* Oy vay – an asterisk to track. Such calorie burning work we’re asking of you. FitFluential is a continentwide network of fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and off via multiple social media platforms. Take a peek-see and maybe even join. You’ll get access to a great community, good info, discounts, jetsam, flotsam, and lots of motivation.

You’re just one click away from subscribing to our YouTube channel and our blog. Grab a GPS and follow us on twitter (@KymberlyFunFit / @AlexandraFunFit)  and instagram (@KymberlyFunFit / @AlexandraFunFit).

8

Easter Workout

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Now THAT'S a push-up!

Do you want a quick and easy way to get in some exercise this holiday weekend?

Are you pressed for time?

Good news: We have a full-body, quick workout for you that requires no equipment. Heck, you can even do it at a roadside rest stop, although you might want a towel for the push-ups!

 

 


Please note how wide Alexandra’s arms are for those push-ups. That’s to really engage the chest, and not over-emphasize the shoulders and arms. And we love full range of motion (ROM)!

If you want to know more about the wrong and right way to do a squat, or more about push-ups, check out these video posts.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, we hope you have a lovely, healthy, fun weekend! Now Drop and Give us 30!

Which do you prefer, planks or push-ups? Boxers or briefs?

17

3 Advanced Plank Exercises

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Don't Tank Your Plank!

Ready for a core challenge that involves more Advanced Plank variations? If your Plank Didn’t Stank after our Beginning to Intermediate Plank Moves post, then try these 3 progressions to strengthen your abs and torso.

No Tankin’ on your Plankin’! 

If you find your hips Twistin’ the Night Away, then back up one progression until you can hold fairly steady and level. Remember that you get results where you put tension. So if you can relax your face and push long through your elbows and down with your shoulders, you’ll put the focus into your core and out of the face and neck.  Oh, and BREATHE! It’s free and oh so helpful when holding a plank.

Working toward having Fab Abs altogether? Do we have a deal for you! Take a look at Get Fab Abs: Part 1  But wait, that’s not all! For the same low, low price, you also Get Fab 6-Pack Abs: Part 2 What’s that you say? You want even MORE info and ideas to Get No-Flab, Fab Abs: Part 3. Try them all! Why not, as they are great ab exercises that will give you a strong core

Readers: Did you know you can always email us with your exercise questions at info@funandfit.org?

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Jami Dwyer at Jami Dwyer’s Flickr PhotoStream

16

Planks: Beginning to Intermediate

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Perfect Form Plank - Oh Yeah!

Planks to strengthen all ab muscles–who can help but love this move that offers so much for the entire core?! Wild hares couldn’t drag Alexandra from having a wild hair to show you more about planks. You get 4 options in this short video, progressing from beginner to intermediate level.

For more plank exercises, read our previous fitness plank post.

Stick with these options so you can say your Plank Don’t Stank!

What is your opinion of planks, and what is your favorite version? Remember that the BEST version is the one you can do with excellent form.