Small Steps Toward Big Weight Loss GoalsJuly 7, 2014
Enjoy Summer Barbecues & Meet Your Weight Loss GoalsJuly 23, 2014
We’re in the midst of summer now, and part of your weight loss goal may be to trim down excess belly fat. While it takes a proper weight loss diet and cardio exercise to burn fat and actually drop pounds, you’ll also need toning exercises to develop that tight, flat tummy. As you continue to lose weight, there’s one exercise you can do a few times per day that will tone your abs. And the best part? It only takes a couple of minutes to perform!
We’re talking about planks, which are nothing like the vigorous crunches you were probably envisioning. They’re really quite easy for anyone to do, and are highly effective as well. Just follow these simple instructions, and add variations once you’ve mastered the basic move.
First, get down on the floor in pushup position. Bend your elbows so that your weight rests on your forearms. For the correct form your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should be in a straight line from head to feet (no sagging lower back, and no bottom in the air!).
Hold the position as long as you can. Most people can only hold it for about thirty seconds when starting out. Your goal is two minutes, but you may need to work up to it.
Perform the basic plank several times per day, trying to hold the position a little longer each time, until you’ve reached your goal of holding it for two minutes.
Once you can hold the basic plank for two minutes, try these variations:
- Lift one leg straight behind you. This forces your abs to fight the urge to rotate, so you’ll work your core even harder.
- Lift one arm ahead of you, forming a straight line from foot to fingertip.
- Combine the first two variations, lifting your left leg and right arm. Hold for as long as you can, then switch to lifting your right leg and left arm.
- Balance your forearms on a Swiss ball instead of the floor. Your core muscles will work hard to keep your body stable so that the ball doesn’t roll out from underneath you.
As always, check with your physician before starting any exercise routine.