The Plank: Six-pack Abs, Hard Core and More!

There are plenty of ways to test your fitness level–cardio endurance, the number of push ups or sit up you can do. The ist is almost endless.

My favorite is simple–and brutal: the plank.

Like most exercises there are myriad variations on the move. (Though it’s really not much of a “move” since the goal is pretty much to stay static and stable). But the standard plank remains immensely effective.

Just get in push up position, but instead of being all the way up on your hands, rest on your foreams. Keep your back straight, hips slightly up and abs tucked. Now stay there…..don’t move…ever!

Okay, not quite. But see how long you can hold the move. Thirty seconds is great for a beginning. But make your goal two minutes!

To get there, you’ll have to do an a regular all-body regiment, strengthening your back, arms, legs and core.

The more you train the longer you’ll be able to hold the plank, signifying how much better shape you’re in. Moreover, the plank is one of the most effective ab moves ever. Some experts say it’s way better than crunches.

For variations, try lifting one leg at a time while holding the move.

Or pop up onto your hands (one at a time), then back down to your forearms, say, ten times.

When you’re in really great shape, have someone place a weight plate (carefully!) on your back while you hold the move.

Whatever you do, focus on holding the move…period. Then every two weeks add 30 seconds–until you’ve reached two minutes!

You’ll find that you’re not only stronger but that you’ve also built your muscular endurance, and tightened your overall core.

The plank is also a great competitive move. Challenge your workout buddy to see who can hold it the longest.

But most of all….

Challenge yourself!

(By the way, the Guiness Book of World Records cites the longest 33 minutes and 40 seconds, set in QueenslandAustralia on 11 May 2011 by Paul Drinan, Oh, and he’s 68 years old.)

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