Plank Workout

Photo Credit: J. Vílchez PD
The plank exercise is a great way to strengthen your upper body, improve muscular endurance and strengthen and tone your muscles. You don’t need equipment to do planks. You can perform plank exercises on the floor of your home, outside on level ground or at the gym. Planks can be incorporated into a total body workout program to help tone your abs, glutes, chest, back and legs.
Begin the side plank exercise by stretching out on the floor on your right side. Stretch your legs out straight and place the left leg on top of your right leg. Bend your right elbow and and place your forearm under your upper body. Make sure you keep your elbow directly under your shoulder. Bend your right knee, but keep your left leg straight. Keep the weight of your lower body on the side of your left foot on the floor. Straighten your body so that it forms a straight line from your neck to the heel of your left foot. Breathe out and tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your body off the floor using your right forearm. Support your body weight with your forearm and your left foot. Hold the position for a few seconds and then breathe in as you lower your body back to the floor. The longer you can hold the raised position, the more intense the side plank workout. Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times for each side. 

The front plank is a little easier to do than the side plank. Lie on the floor on your stomach and place your elbows under your shoulders with forearms close to your body. Point your fingers forward. Keep your legs close together and hold the weight of your lower body on your toes. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and lift your entire body off the floor using your forearms. Keep your spine in a straight line from your neck to your heels. Your body should be rigid and all of your muscles tight. Hold this position for at least 5 seconds and then relax and lower your body back to the floor. Perform more repetitions or hold the plank position longer as your strength improves.