The Best Ab Exercise- The 4-minute Plank Challenge.
This is an easy exercise to squeeze into your at-home workout routine. If you’ve been looking for a no-nonsense exercise that can help you to have flat abs even with limited time and a hectic schedule, you’ll love that you can do this in just 8 minutes a week (4 minutes, 2 times a week).
Think…an exercise you can do while you’re waiting for coffee to brew– or for hot water to boil for tea.
Simply work this 4-minute plank challenge into your routine twice a week. If you can’t hold the plank for 4-minutes, no problem! Start with the length of time that you can hold the plank for. As you practice you’ll get more toned and you’ll be able to do it more easily, so hang in there! You’ll get strong stomach muscles and six pack abs as you practice! Just be sure to do it with proper form. There are some important steps to make sure that this exercise really does what it should to strengthen your abs.
To get the results you want, proper form is essential.
Many times people don’t use the correct form when they do planks and don’t tone their muscles the way that they hope. Don’t let that happen to you.
To ensure maximum results, these steps are essential:
- Tighten your abs and use your stomach muscles to pull your belly button towards your spine. This will help you to keep your entire core engaged and is an important part of doing the exercise correctly.
Keep your body in a straight line. You may be tempted to perk your butt up higher than the rest of your body or to let your butt sag…don’t let either of these happen or it takes the exercise away from the abs!
Keep your feet perpendicular to the ground. You may find yourself pushing your weight back towards your feet so that a larger portion of your foot, such as the ball of the foot is on the ground. This means the abs aren’t getting the workout that they should.
Should you perform the plank exercise on your hands or on your forearms?
You can perform the plank with your weight on your forearms or for a variation you can do it on your hands. Each has its’ advantages. If your wrists hurt you, you’ll want to do this exercise with the weight on your forearms or you could try holding on to dumbbells as you perform this exercise with the dumbbells facing vertically (the same direction as your body) which will relieve pressure off of the wrist joint and also keep the wrist in a more neutral position.
If you perform the plank on your hands, you’ll activate your shoulder and triceps and give them a good workout and you’ll workout your abs/core a bit less. When we do the plank this way, if we haven’t had a chance to strength train with our shoulders or triceps for a few days, we really feel this in our shoulders! So if your goal is stabilization and to build shoulder strength, the plank on your hands is for you!
If your goal is to hone in on those abs, performing the plank on the forearms is your best bet. The core has to work harder because the shift of center of gravity. You’ll still work your shoulders, but much less –and the same is true for your triceps.