A Quick Plank Routine For Full-Body Toning

Whether you travel a lot for work, don't have the money (or time) for a gym membership, or are simply looking for a quick routine you can do anywhere, look no further than the plank.

The plank move is often thought of as a core exercise (and it definitely is), but when done correctly it tones everything from your shoulders and chest to your glutes and lower back, too.

This 15-minute routine can be done anywhere and can be adjusted with more or less rest, depending on how strong you are in your planks and push-ups.

More: 30-Day Plank Challenge

The Move

Many people shy away from the plank because it's too hard to do. But don't give up just because you can't hold a straight line from your head down to your heels; instead, start planking on your knees and slowly work your way up to your toes.

The key to perfect plank form lies in three steps:
  1. Draw your shoulders down and back.
  2. Pull your belly button up toward your spine.
  3. Strongly engage your glutes.

Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. You can do a few cat/cow poses before you start the plank routine to help loosen up your pelvis and lower back.

As you move into a plank position, keep your neck relaxed, chest open and tummy tight. It doesn't matter if you can hold the plank for 20 seconds or two minutes. All that matters is that you have good form.

The Workout

Perform three sets of the following plank/pushup/yoga sequence. Start out by resting in between each exercise, then work up to only resting between each set. Finally, work up to doing the entire three sets without resting for a total-body burnout.

Exercise #1: Pilates Push-ups (10 reps)

Start in a pushup position, either on your toes or your knees, making sure your wrists are in line with your shoulders. Engage your abdominals and gluteus muscles and form a straight line, being careful not to drop your hips. Lower down to the floor, keeping your shoulders drawn back and your elbows narrow. Exhale as you lift back up and inhale as you lower down.

More: Plank and Push-up Challenge

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About the Author

Susan Grant Legacki

Susan Grant Legacki is the founding editor of LAVA Magazine, and currently serves as the magazine's features and online editor. Prior to joining LAVA, she worked as a Senior Editor at Inside Triathlon and Triathlete Magazine. She is an Ironman finisher, Boston-qualifying marathoner, certified Pilates instructor—and a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. You can read more about her on Susanegrant.com and follow her on Twitter at @susanglegacki.

Susan Grant Legacki is the founding editor of LAVA Magazine, and currently serves as the magazine's features and online editor. Prior to joining LAVA, she worked as a Senior Editor at Inside Triathlon and Triathlete Magazine. She is an Ironman finisher, Boston-qualifying marathoner, certified Pilates instructor—and a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. You can read more about her on Susanegrant.com and follow her on Twitter at @susanglegacki.

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