The secret to amazing abs? This basic workout move. Self shows us how to make it even harder.
Planks. You're probably doing them wrong.
Okay, maybe not. But chances are, you could make this amazing-for-your-abs move even better. "Making simple tweaks to a basic plank helps create more tension throughout your entire core, so you'll see results faster," says Jessi Kneeland, a trainer at Peak Performance in NYC and creator of Remodel Fitness. We turned to her for four simple ways to supercharge the move. She recommends to hold each plank variation below for up to 30 seconds, rest, then repeat one to two more times.
Pull Your Weight
Start in forearm plank. Holding your body still, imagine you could drag your elbows down toward your toes. "It might not look like you're doing anything different," says Kneeland, "but it creates more tension in the abs — and more muscle tension equals better results."
Take a Step
Start in forearm plank with your arms on the floor, but your feet elevated on a step or bench behind you. Hold this as you would a regular plank. Even just a few inches of elevation under your toes will change your base of support and make your abs work harder, says Kneeland.
Do a regular (straight-arm) plank, but make sure the soles of your feet are perpendicular to the floor, and then gently drive your heels away from each other. "Many people push their heels way back, almost like a calf stretch, and their heels collapse in," she says. "Those things make the exercise easier and less effective."
Stir the Pot
Start in plank position with your feet on the floor and your forearms on a Swiss ball. Slowly move your forearms to the right to make small circles with the ball, keeping the rest of your body as still as possible. Do up to 10 circles, then repeat in the opposite direction.
These tips will take your planks up a notch now — you can thank us with washboard abs later.