Would you like to receive the latest articles, free resources and updates for everything fitness and health? Submit your details to subscribe to the list!
Here are some things that I love.
1. A pint of ale in a comfy pub that's not too busy but neither is it too quiet.
2. When a curry has just the right level of kick. Not too hot though definitely not the blandest thing on the menu.
3. A well performed ab-plank. Hips neither too high nor sagging down and humping the floor.
It's such a great exercise when performed well. Via the abdominals attachment on the pelvis and ribcage it can help in clearing up back pain, shoulder issues and knee issues.
It's a popular exercise but damn does it get butchered a lot.
Either butt is sticking too far in the air, making it look like someone is going to do a humungus fart - as below (yeah, I know my legs have less colour than a pint of milk.)
Or the hips are sagging to the ground (floor humping) stressing the back.
The ideal is the balance just in between the two.
Here's a quick guide to nailing it.
It's a fantastic habit and one I highly recommend you continue with. Too often breathing goes completely out the window when exercising.
There's no point in having abs of steel if you can't breath through them. So before you get planking, put your hands on your stomach sides, just
above the pelvis.
Now take a deep breath so you feel the air gets drawn into your tummy and your hands expand outwards.
Now breath out through your mouth.
Cool, that's how you're going to breath when you get into the initial plank position.
No chest breathing, hyperventilating or cutting off your own oxygen supply.
Next step is getting the right alignment. This is meant to be a battle between gravity and your abs. So we need to ensure that it's core stabilising chaps that are in the firing line.
Your points of support are going to be your knees and your forearms. The aim is to have a straight line from the crown of your head, through your shoulders and to your knees.
This is the mega key point.
Squeeze yo' ass.
Seriously clench that sucker for all it's worth. To nick a phrase from Dean Somerset, you need to pretend your turning coal into diamonds....serious pressure.
Now breath...deep and controlled.
(Not the best photo I know but I think I make up for it by having amazing socks).
If we get the plank going right you should feel it kicking into the abs hard.
We want short and intense rather than hanging around all day.
From the same alignment, the same set up on the knees. Lever yourself up onto your toes.
Squeeze your butt and breath.
There should be a straight line from your crown, through your shoulder, through your hip to your ankles.
Once you've got this little sucker nailed for technique it's time to look at how long to hold it for.
Contrary to what many may believe it isn't a case of the longer the better.
60 seconds is just fine.
If you get there with perfect technique then you need a new challenge. Trust me there are loads of ways to progress the ab-plank,
make it more challenging, effective and make you hate life (just a little bit).
In the meantime you don't need to aim for 60 seconds all in one go.
Try 6 lots of 10 seconds.
Or 3 lots of 20 seconds.
You're smart, you can figure out whichever bit of maths works best for you.
Remember, you're aim is for intensity and great technique.
Word of warning, if it starts to feel like your back doing the work it's time to stop.
If you can readjust your technique so it's back to your abs that's cool.
If not try regressing to your knees.
Still no bueno...don't carry on. Try again another day.