Sherri McMillan

Plank Your Way To A Strong Core

One of my favorite exercises to condition the core is a plank.
Here’s why:

  • You can plank anywhere. Plank at the gym, at home, at work, on vacation, in your hotel room, outside…you can do it anywhere!
  • Anyone can do it. If you’re just getting started, you can plank from your knees and make the exercise easier to perform. If you’re more advanced, there are multiple progressions. The options to make a plank more challenging are endless so as you get more fit, you can continue to progress and incorporate new variations.
  • No equipment required. All you need is your body!
  • No chance of getting bored. There are so many variations that you can do a different plank format every time and incorporate a lot of variety into your core conditioning program.
  • Planking trains stabilization. While planking, you’re strengthening your body’s ability to stabilize and brace the spine. As your core becomes stronger, that strength will radiate out to your extremities and you will be better able to stabilize and align your body, absorb and brace for any impact and move your body more efficiently and with better mechanics.
  • Planking strengthens your whole body. While planking your will strengthen your abdominals, back, shoulders and hips. It’s a full body exercise.

Here’s how to plank correctly and some fun variations.

planktoesPlank

Lie on your stomach. Position your elbows under your shoulders. Contract your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift your body onto your toes and your elbows. Keep your back straight and elongated. Strive for a straight line from the top of your head to toes. Remember to breathe.

plankneesNote: Feel free to start on knees and as you get stronger, slowly progress to your toes. Here’s a progressive program that you can do to get you to planking for one minute within one month.

  • Week One – Plank for 5 seconds x 12 – Do this 3x/week on alternating days
  • Week Two – Plank for 15 seconds x 4 – Do this 3x/week on alternating days
  • Week Three – Plank for 30 seconds x 2 – Do this 3x/week on alternating days
  • Week Four – Plank for 60 seconds – Do this 3x/week on alternating days

Here’s Some Plank Variations:

Hands/Toes

You can also plank from hands and toes instead of elbows and toes.

Hip Drop Planks

While holding the plank position, slowly allow your hips to drop and rotate side to side for goal time.

Knee to Elbow Planks

While holding the plank position, slowly draw one knee towards opposite elbow. Alternate and continue for goal time.

Leg Lift Planks

While holding the plank position, slowly lift one foot off the ground. Alternate and continue for goal time. You can advance, by lifting the foot, pressing it laterally and then dropping it back to the starting position.

Circle Planks

While holding the plank position from hands and toes, slowly lift one hand reach forward, overhead and all the way around to the starting position. Alternate and continue for goal time.

Stability Ball Planks

Place your feet on top of a stability ball while planking for a tough challenge.

Side-Lying Plank

Lie on your side while propping yourself up on one elbow with elbow positioned right under your shoulder. Keep your body straight and aligned.  Slowly lift your hips off the floor so that your body weight is now supported on your elbow and your knees (less advanced) or your toes (more advanced).

Yours in health, fitness& business,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.


Couve Run 2017

Join us for the COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES on March 24th, 2019 in downtown Vancouver, WA. Celebrate St. Patrick’s day with us at the 5th Annual Couve Clover Run. Wear your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party, but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.

 

 

 


 

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 20 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year – Runner up. As a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” & “Fit over Forty” and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs, she is a spokesperson for Nike, Twist Conditioning and PowerBar. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S.A. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training a training studio in Vancouver, WA and can be found running, biking, or hiking with her daughter Brianna and her son Jackson.

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