The beach body plank is a great exercise that strengthens and tones the muscles of the "core," otherwise known as the abdominal and lower back muscles. While this exercise may seem simple, it is actually quite difficult, and it can be a challenge to hold the pose for even the shortest amount of time.
About the Beach Body Plank
The beach body plank is an exercise that is growing in popularity because it can target abdominal muscles as well as those in the lower back. Unlike traditional abdominal exercises that focus on doing multiple repetitions of the same maneuver, this exercise is isometric, meaning that one position is held for a long period of time. Recent research has found that this type of strength training, especially when focused on abdominal muscles, may be especially effective.
Positioning Your Body
Before performing the beach body plank, it is essential that you position your body properly. Start by clearing an area on the floor, and placing down an exercise or yoga mat which can be used to protect your elbows. Come onto all fours on the mat. Carefully lower your elbows to the ground, with your forearms resting comfortably on the mat. Lift your knees from the ground, so that the only contact point that your body now has with the ground are your elbows, forearms and toes. Carefully step your feet a bit further back from your body on the mat, so that you are in a straight, diagonal line from your heels up to your head.
Performing the Beach Body Plank
Once you have properly positioned yourself for the beach body plank, there is nothing left to do but hold the pose for as long as you can. While performing the beach body plank, make sure that your hips and lower back remain raised. Letting them sag will not only decrease the intensity of the pose, but may actually result in back pain or injury. Try to hold the pose for at least 15 seconds before taking a short break. Do another two sets of 15-second intervals while holding the beach body plank in order to achieve optimal results.
Increasing the Intensity
While this pose seems very simple, it is actually quite difficult, especially if your abdominal and lower back muscles are weak. One easy way to increase the intensity of this pose is simply by increasing the amount of time spent performing it. Once 15 seconds becomes too easy, try to hold the pose for 30 seconds. Another way to increase the intensity of the beach body plank is by decreasing the number of contact points your body has with the ground. Try lifting one of your feet off the ground, and hook your toes around the opposite heel. This forces you to distribute your weight through fewer contact points, thereby forcing your core muscles to work harder.