“How can I get abs?” I'm always asked, and in all honesty, I don’t and have never followed a strict routine, and have never tried intimidating new fad workouts either. Just like everybody else, I am extremely busy and preoccupied, and lack the energy to maintain a rigid form of exercise. I do pay attention to what works for my body, and because of kiteboarding, I have a pretty strong core, something I have miraculously been able to keep, even throughout continuous weight gain and loss over the years.
When I don’t have much time to go to the gym, I just do sets of floor exercises to maintain my core. Contrary to popular belief, a strong abdomen isn’t only achieved by doing crunches and sit-ups. Planks can provide a full-body workout, if combined with variations.
Push up on your hands, either on flat palms or on dumbells, and keep them straight. Your toes should be pointed, your upper body in a straight line paralell to the floor. Keep your abdomen strong and your stomach pulled in.
Swing one leg up, keeping it straight and pointing your toes. Keep your arms and core strong.
Hold for 5 breaths, breathing in and out fully and steadily.
Slowly start lowering your leg about one foot. Hold for one full inhale and exhale.
Lower your leg again one foot, and hold for one breath, maintaining your breathing.
Lower your leg all the way to the floor back into a plank with an exhale.
Maintain your plank for 5 breaths, paying attention to keeping it steady.
Repeat with other leg.
If you aren’t experienced in the plank, or haven’t tried yoga or pilates, go slow. You can start with doing this cycle 5x for each leg if you can, but if it proves to be difficult in the beginning, I recommend trying as many as you can until you get tired, and then doing one more set (1x per leg). That way, you are constantly pushing yourself to do more, instead of sticking to a routine that will become less challenging over time.
Remember that at the end of the day, not every workout will have the exact same effect on everybody, so its important to tailor your sets to make them work for you. Wait for future posts on other options for planks.