Tight abs are almost everyone’s wish, but they require a lot of work; determination, and a great deal of planking. According to Sarah Chadwell, natural bikini competitor, this is why planks can really help create the abs you have been wishing for.
Planks Build the Base Layer
Firstly, abs like any other muscle, have to be exercised to be built. The plank is a simple and effective exercise to flatten your tummy, build and strengthen your core. “Think of planks as your base layer. On frigid days, you put on base layers under your clothes to keep you warm. Your base layers stay close to your body and are the foundation for holding heat.
When you perform planks, you are engaging your entire core, including the deepest layers of muscle that are closest to your spine known as your transverse abdominals. Your deep muscles are the foundation for core strength, and they must be well-developed in order for you to have a flat, ripped stomach.”
However, reality check: planking alone will not get you a rock-hard set of abs that show. There are a few more pieces to the puzzle. You already have abs (the muscles are there, but they generally do not show on many of us) but the only way to see the definition is to get lean, drop weight, and target the muscles with planking.
Two crucial steps to this are diet and total-body strength training and conditioning. The diet part is simple but admittedly not exciting: eat clean, whole foods, focusing on lean protein, lots of greens, and no processed foods or sugar. The training and conditioning are also not rocket science, but they’ll force you to really sweat: you’re going to have to lift heavy in the gym, not skimp on cardio, and target your abs with a fair amount of planking.
How to Do a Standard Plank
-Your arms should be shoulder-width apart with your hands directly below your shoulders flat on the floor.
-You’ll be balancing on your toes with your feet almost touching.
-Lift your midsection so that your back is flat. Be sure your hips are stable.
-Engage your lower back muscles.
-Brace your core. It feels like you are pulling your navel toward your spine, not just sucking in your gut in.
-Keep your neck and spine neutral by picking a spot to look at on the floor.
-Hold this position for one minute.
-Rest 45 seconds and repeat for three one-minute rounds.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Here are the three most common errors you should look to avoid:
-The Sag: Many people let their stomach sag toward the floor. This happens when you let your hips drop. You can avoid this by engaging your glutes.
-The People Watcher: Many people have their head up and are looking around the gym. This takes your spine and neck out of a neutral position. Look straight down at a spot on your mat to fix this.
The plank is the perfect isometric exercise for building abs. Add them to your routine three times per week or just get on the floor at home and knock them out daily. You will find that you have a flatter, more toned stomach in mere weeks.