A number of different exercises help flatten and tighten abs, but one of the simplest and quickest ways to get an impressive abdomen is through an exercise known as the plank (video below).
Planking for 60 seconds a day can have your abs looking fantastically flat in just one month. Healthy Food House laid out all the steps in a recent blog.
- Place the hands firmly on the ground, while keeping the shoulders and neck straight.
- The main focus of this exercise is your abdominal area, but you will also feel the pressure in your legs as well. Therefore, put the heels in a position that the pressure is transferred to the toes and feel the tension in the muscles of the thighs.
- In order to activate the muscles of the lower body, you should contract the muscles of the buttock. However, remember not to raise it up, as the entire body should be flat as a plank, not in a triangular shape.
- In order to make it easier to maintain this position, you should breathe deeply and evenly.
- Moreover, imagine that there is a glass full of water placed on your back, so you should maintain the position in order not to spill it out.
- As soon as you manage to keep your body in this proper position, you can start with the exercise:
- Your knees and hands should remain on the ground, your back should be flat, and the shoulders should be a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Focus on a spot on the floor beyond your hands, in order to keep the spine, head and neck straight.
- Apply the pressure on the toes, and place the right leg on the floor. Then, repeat the same with the left leg. At this point, you should feel as the entire weight of your body relies on your toes and hands.
- You need to start contracting the abdominal muscles and remain in this position for 20-60 seconds.
- Afterward, relax your body.
- You need to gradually increase the time of maintaining the plank position up to a minute.
“Of all the core exercises like crunches and back workouts, the plank is the most important,” Mary Edwards, director of fitness at Cooper Fitness Center told The Dallas Morning News of planking.
Healthy Food House says planking is more effective than 1,000 traditional abs exercises.
Learn more about planks in the video below.