In this weeks challenge I will address the most asked question in the gym. How do I flatten my stomach. This is the most asked question but its not an accurate question. Because the stomach can't be flatten by doing core work or any type of exercise. You should start with a sound nutritional plan first to reduce the body fat around the waistline.
The better question should be. How do I make my stomach strong? There are many benefits to a very strong core. This week we will start you off on a very simple but highly effective core challenge. So lets get started reaping the benefits.
We will use a very simple core exercise for the core challenge. The Plank. #Less equals more
First you need to know what position to start in based on your present fitness level. Most of us know what a plank looks like but, if you don't, here is a simple way to look at it. The plank is the position you start in if you where doing a push-up. Your hands should be a little in front of the shoulders, at shoulder width apart and the feet should be together. Your shoulder, hips, knees, and feet should create a straight line. Your goal is to maintain this straight-line for the entire time of being in the plank. When you can no longer hold a straight line then you rest and make a note of the time
We will use a 3 phase program for the plank challenge. You need 3 items which would represent 3 different levels for this challenge. In your home you will need a table, a chair, and the floor. In the gym you need 3 levels also which could be an adjustable bench or 2 different ones plus the floor as your 3rd level.
If you can't hold a plank correctly on the floor, then you would use one of the other 2 levels which allows you to hold the plank in correct alignment the longest. Once you have the correct level then you follow the plank challenge as written. When you are stronger move to a lower level.
*Inhale through your noise and exhale out of your mouth long slow breaths continuously.
*Do not round your upper back.
*Do not let your hips sag.
*Do not lift your butt up out of position.
*Your hands should be facing straight.
*Push through your heels.
*Keep legs straight.
* Make sure your low back doesn't sink.
* Keep your body level.
If you never used a plank before, what might happen is your wrist might become a little stiff and painful. To prevent this from happening do only 1 set the first week. This will allow your wrist time to become stronger without injuring it.
It takes 4 weeks for your body to completely adapt. Which means, to gain its maximum strength. Its very important to complete the 4 weeks before you try any other version of the plank. Use the basic plank to build your base of core strength first. Do not try to do to much when you first start. Leave a little gas in the tank.
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 1 set - Maximum time 2 minutes
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 2 sets - Maximum time 2 minutes each set
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 3 sets - Maximum time 2 minutes each set
1st - 5th days - Hold plank for as long as you can and time yourself. 4 sets - Maximum time 2 minutes each set
Advance tips: If you are already good at holding a plank, these tips will help you refine your plank to maximize your results from this exercise.
*Make sure your head stays neutral. Do not let your forehead reach down to the floor.
*Try to open your chest so your back muscles stabilize your shoulders instead of your chest muscles..
*Make sure your shoulder blades are depressed and not up toward your ears.
*Your hands should have a slight external rotation but still are facing straight forward which helps the shoulders stay locked into a depressed position.
*Push back through your heels to lock your legs straight.
*Slightly squeeze your inner thighs and push the feet together. This will help stabilize you when fatigue starts.
*Breath long slow breaths in through your nose and out slow through your mouth. This should be a continues flow of breath without breaks. You are using your breath to activate your core.
*Bring your hands closer together to activate more deeper core muscle fibers. Your hands can actually touch each other side by side to narrow the base of support. Your feet should be together not wide.
*If your hip flexors are tight you might see a sinking in your low back as you fatigue. There might also be some pain in your back if this happens. You need to stretch your hip flexors to prevent this from happening. As you become stronger in your core this will be easier to manage. Stop if you have any form of pain.
*To develop maximum core strength.
*To maintain neutral alignment in a horizontal plane.
After 4 weeks you should be able to complete a 2 minute plank with ease. The plank is a simple movement but if its mastered it builds a powerful base to build up on. #Less equals more
Reggie - Email us if you have questions.
AFC blog is about supporting you so you can live your best life. We strive to inspire everyone to live each day better than the last. Our blog is dedicated to teaching ideas that motivate you to live a fit life.