Challenge Your Core: How To Nail The Perfect Plank

Challenge Your Core: How To Nail The Perfect Plank

Happy Friday!! Figured I’d add a workout-type post this week since I’ve been switching up my planks lately. I practice a lot of them on myself and then add them to my workouts for my HEAT class and with my clients. In case you’re reading this and am like, “hmm what”- listen here!

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Standard Forearm Plank

I LOVE planks let me tell you. If I can’t figure core-wise what I wanna do, my go to is a plank of some kind. There’s so many options and you don’t need any equipment to get the most of this exercise. Switching your arms, legs, and movement patterns throughout your torso and you’re bound to challenge yourself differently every time.

A plank is an exercise used to isolate your core (abs and low back). Planks are all about contracting, namely through isometric movement, known as holding/squeezing. 

Tips to good plank form:

  • Back flat
  • Butt down
  • Hands under shoulders (modified plank)
  • Forearms/elbows unders shoulders (standard plank)
  • Breath!

Planks are all about time. No need for counting any reps. What I would suggest to someone doing a plank for the first time is focus on good form first. Time doesn’t mean as much if the form isn’t there. Seeing yourself in a side view using a mirror using my tips above is the first step. However you hold yourself, keeping the core tight and engaged is key to get the most out of your plank. The goals is to have good form first, then start the timer!

Once your form is good, start the timer and hold as long as you can until you lose form. Once form is lost, stop the timer and make a note of the time of course!!! 😉 Adding five to ten seconds at a time with good form is a good way to start. Working up to fifteen seconds then to twenty, thirty, ultimately a min or more is the goal!

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Modified High Plank (hands come under shoulders here ;P)

 

YOUR TURN!

-Favorite plank variation?

-What’s your go-to core exercise?

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Why Inclines/DIY Hills Can Be Your Friend + Incline Workout

Why Inclines/DIY Hills Can Be Your Friend + Incline Workout

Happy Wednesday! Although I live in Florida and hills are not really a thing (unless you have bridges #SoFlo or north florida-ish), reaping benefits of hills can be tough. Luckily in Downtown Tampa where I teach, using a long ramp along the backside of Curtis Hixon Park (Tampa friends you know where I’m talking) has been good to get some incline in and where I did my workout yesterday! If you don’t have a ramp, using a stadium, stairwell, even the stair master at your gym works too! Parking garages are also a great option, just make sure you’re running them safely and during a less busy time of day.

Hills can be intimidating, a long and tough climb to the top, but they have other benefits besides just strengthening your legs:

  • Build endurance
  • Improve efficiency
  • Great way to challenge yourself before a flat course
  • SPEED- hills are basically speed work in disguise
  • Boost cardiovascular fitness

After reading up on hills, I’m planning on doing a bridge workout with my HEAT class and adding to my training as well. Look for that post up soon too!! 😉 Back to inclines though, it all has benefits. I feel most people run them too hard, too fast up them resulting in burnout or they honestly hate them and don’t do them at all. Go slow, take baby steps up, and recruit those arms help propel you up! If you have joint issues, the downhill part of the hill is where you want to be careful. The eccentric (lengthening) part of the movement on the way down, can put pressure and extra strain on joints. Control your movement instead of “letting yourself go.” Rest at the bottom, then back over again! Your heart and legs will thank you 🙂

Check out my incline workout I did with my class yesterday! As mentioned above, use a stairwell, treadmill/stairmaster, stadium, etc. if you don’t have a ramp!

Curtis Hixon Ramp Workout (no equipment–YAY!)

Three exercises per round at the bottom, middle, and top of each incline

*single count means each side counts as 1 rep

*double count means both side counts as 1 rep

Starting at bottom, focus is lower body/squats[cue Drake’s song haha] : 

-50 basic squats~~ run to middle portion of incline

50 pulse squats~~ run to top of incline

-50 jump squats/basic squats~~ run back to the bottom

~REST 1 min~

Bottom, focus is cardio:

-40 jumping jacks~~ run to middle of incline

40 burpees~~ run to top of incline

-40 Skaters (single count)~~ run down to bottom

~REST 1 min~

Bottom, focus is abs:

30 bicycle crunches (double count)~~ run to middle

-30 supermans~~ run to top

-30 flutter kicks (double count)~~ run back down

~REST 1 min~

HOLLAA you’re done! Don’t forget to stretch and cool-down after. 😉

You Don’t Need a Gym! Try My Outdoor Stair Workout

You Don’t Need a Gym! Try My Outdoor Stair Workout

ITS FRIDAY! I love writing towards the end of the week since its a great time to reflect on what my week entailed. I’ve been much better about getting in my strength training this week. I love the squat rack and lifting heavy, but using the things around you to challenge yourself can be just as tough! I teach my bootcamp, H.E.A.T at the Downtown Tampa YMCA at lunchtime which I LOVE and is a great way for me to get creative with my class since its outside! Yes, I said outside, its much more challenging and fun!! My group is really into it and motivated so I can get as intense I want 😉 The thing I love about bootcamp style classes is that it’s more unique then the traditional inside strength/cardio class. You challenge yourself with the elements of being outside, your own bodyweight, and high intensity components such as reps, times, and types of cardio and strength. You also are among a group that makes it like a team-effort with added motivation.  I love teaching traditional type classes too, but sometimes I find I lack creativity when stuck inside. This week I came up with a new workout based on time. No need to count reps…yay! All you need is a good three flights of stairs (if not three, one or two works well too) and a stopwatch. Think a stadium, stairwell, or even a ramp since the incline works too. Heck, you could do DIY stairs and replace with high knees or the stair master machine to get a similar experience. Remember you can always modify these moves. You get the same benefits of the modification without the added impact. Listen to your body…you can put in the work! NO EXCUSES! 

Bootcamp Style Timed Stair Workout

4 Rounds, Twice per Round~ about 40 min total (don’t forget warm-up and cool-down!), At the end of the minute either ending the strength or stair movement…find a flat surface and go for it! Grab water and rest about 30 seconds/1 min at the end of each round before moving onto the next. NO REST between the first time and second time of each round. PUSH YOURSELF! 

-1 min sprint up (jog down) (2x)

  • 1 min squats

  • 1 min pushups (standard, on knees, on wall)

-1 min every other step up (jog down) (2x)

  • 1 min skaters (opposite hand to opposite foot!)

  • 1 min inchworms (extra challenge…pushups or hold at top of plank!)

-1 min side step alternating sides up (jog down) (2x)

  • 1 min alternating jump lunges (or regular alternating lunges)

  • 1 min plank on forearms

-1 min wide step (jog down) (2x)

  • 1 min alternating plank push-ups (with or without knees on ground)

  • 1 min mountain climbers

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My H.E.A.T class using the ramp for a similar style workout.