This 10-Minute Plank Workout Will Help You Build a Stronger Core in No Time
Imagine your core as a tree trunk. Your lower body is the roots and your upper body is the branches. And life's daily demands, activities, and stress are the hurricane winds pulverizing your metaphorical tree trunk. Would you rather have a thick, rock-solid base supporting the branches or a flimsy twig that snaps under pressure? We're guessing the former. That's why we're here to help you build a stronger core with an expert-approved workout. After all, strengthening your core offers several other health benefits beyond building beach-worthy washboard abs.
Research shows that having a strong trunk can help prevent injury, improve balance and posture, stabilize your lower back, enhance core stability, improve physical performance, and more. That's because your core is interconnected with several muscle groups, including your back, hips, pelvis, glutes, abs, diaphragm, and spine, according to the experts at Healthline.
However, you're probably busy and want to know the most efficient way to strengthen that tree trunk (your core) in as little time as possible. That's why we chatted with Kate Meier, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, who shares a killer plank workout to help build a stronger core in no time. All you need is 10 minutes and a clean floor to plank on. No equipment is necessary!
"Complete two rounds of the following plank circuit. Hold each plank for 45 seconds to one minute, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next plank," instructs Meier.
Keep reading for this stellar, time-effective workout, and watch your core strength explode. Then, check out The 5-Minute Standing Ab Workout for a Strong Core.
Most of these exercises begin with this classic plank movement. First, get down on all fours on a mat with your shoulders and elbows stacked above your hands. Next, walk your feet out until your legs are fully extended, then lower yourself onto your elbows with your forearms flat on the mat and pointing forward. Hold this position without moving for the allotted time.
"The crucial aspect of a perfect plank is keeping your hips aligned with your shoulders and ankles, which requires engaging your core and glutes the entire time you're planking," explains Meier. "If a full plank is too difficult, lower onto your knees but keep your posture the same otherwise."
Plank with Reach
Next up is the plank with reach. First, get into the classic plank position as described above, then reach straight forward with one of your arms while keeping the rest of your body still.
"Move slowly and with control, then pause briefly with your arm fully extended. Next, return to the starting position before switching arms. Remember to keep your shoulders and hips facing the mat as you complete each rep," Meier instructs.
Again, focus on remaining rock steady in this position as you balance yourself and extend your reach.
Plank with Leg Raise
Get ready to push yourself hard with this next one.
"Start in a basic plank position, then lift one of your feet straight up while keeping your leg straight. This will likely be a tiny movement for most people, but the key is to move slowly and lift your leg to a height that makes you feel the move in your glutes and the leg on the side you're lifting," says Meier.
Be careful to lift your leg as high as you can without moving your hips, and keep a straight spine to reduce your risk of injury. Return to the starting position before switching legs.
The side plank will have you deviate from the classic plank position to balance on one side at a time. To set up for a side plank, lie sideways on a mat, then prop yourself onto your elbow while keeping your knees on the mat. Next, raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
"Your hips should be facing forward as you hold this position," says Meier. "If holding a side plank for the full time is too difficult, try holding for five to 10 seconds and lowering back down for a second, then repeating this cycle for the allotted time."