Fit Tip Thursday: 5 Planks for Killer Abs
Like the squat and the push-up, the plank is a simple, yet insanely effective body weight exercise. It is an isometric abdominal exercise, meaning it works the muscles without them changing in length. The plank sculpts the abs while strengthening the musculature that stabilizes the spine, helping to alleviate back pain and prevent future injury. This exercise is therefore unique, as it works both the front and back of the core region at the same time – something your traditional crunch-type exercises do not do.
The plank exercise Guinness World Record for 2014 was set by Mae Weidong, a member of the Beijing SWAT team. The policeman held the position for four hours and 26 minutes, beating the previous record by more than an hour.
But you don't need to come close to Weidon's performance to reap the rewards of this exercise. Beginners can start with several sets of 10-15 seconds, and advanced exercisers can hold the plank for 1-2 minutes. There are also numerous different versions of the plank that you can do to add variation and difficulty to the move. Here are five great examples to add to your exercise arsenal:
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