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How to Strengthen Your Core

Multitasking Move: Plank Opposite Limb Extensions

If the thought of baring your belly in a bikini sends shivers up your spine, try this full-body move sure to tone your center. This balancing exercise will work your muscles more effectively, giving you faster results with fewer reps (read: less time at the gym, more time at the beach). Similar to the core exercise opposite limb extensions with a band, this variation is more challenging since you're in the plank position rather than on your hands and knees.

Grab a dumbbell (I use a 6-pounder) and keep reading.

  • Start in a plank position with straight arms and legs holding a dumbbell in your left hand.
  • Keeping your spine straight and your abs engaged, extend your left arm and right leg away from you. If it's hard to balance, reposition your right hand and left foot a few inches in order to find stable ground. This is the starting position.
  • Slowly draw your left elbow and right knee in to touch under your torso. Then extend them, coming back to the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete three sets of 15 reps on each side.
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