Tips for Washboard Abs – Plank
If you are looking for a great way to build washboard abs, the plank may be just what you are looking for. From start to finish, you can feel the burn, and that is what tells you it is working from the first motion you make. With the plank, the only limitations you have is what your body provides.
The plank helps to develop your core strength. It also helps to develop your shoulders, arms and glutes. It is a great workout to use before lifting heavy weights, but don’t let this exercise fool you. The majority of people, regardless of fitness level, find the plank difficult to maintain and most can’t last more than 20 seconds the first time they try it.
Planks can be performed several times each day to help slowly build up endurance.
How To Warm-up
To warm up for this exercise you should warm up your entire body. This is because the plank works all of your muscles simultaneously, including your legs. Make sure to warm up your shoulder joints and your back as well. The plank is known for putting stress on both of these areas, as well as your abs.
If possible, jog for at least 10 minutes to get proper blood flow. This improves the oxygen that your muscles receive and reduces the chance of developing cramps.
The Proper Form
Get down into the push-up position. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and place your forearms on the floor. Your elbows should be placed directly under your shoulders for maximum performance. Your body should create a straight line, so make sure that your body is level from your head to your feet. Hold the position as long as you can.
The goal for holding this position is 2 minutes for each repetition.
To Decrease the Intensity
To decrease the intensity of this exercise, you can use a bent-knee version until you build up the endurance.
To Increase Difficulty
There are many ways to increase the difficulty of this exercise, here are three of the most popular.
Lift one leg – Raise one leg in the air. This can dramatically increase the demand of one side of your abs. Make sure to match the duration with the opposite side.
Lift one Arm – Naturally, your body will want to fall to one side. Do not let it. Keep yourself flat for the duration of the exercise. Make sure to match the exercise on the opposite side.
Add a Swiss Ball – Resting your forearms on the Swiss ball will force you to stabilize yourself. This will add a lot of intensity to your exercise.
How To Cool Down
Cooling down from this exercise is fairly simple. Stretch out completely for at least 10 minutes. It is recommended to jog for at least 10 minutes to release the built up lactic acid that is stored in your muscles. This will keep you from getting sore for an extended period of time.