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Instantly Improve Your Plank

Build core strength and stability with these tips on intensifying the plank.

"Im bored with the plank what are some ways to make it harder and bring out my abs more?"
--Terry B., Colts Neck, NJ

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The plank—where you get into a pushup position, rest on your forearms, and hold for time—is a fantastic core exercise. But as you seem to have found out, it doesn’t take long to max out the benefits. If you can hold a plank for two minutes or more, you need to up the intensity. The key is to progress very slowly. People see pictures and videos of very advanced versions that look fun, and then when they try them in their own workouts, they fall flat on their faces. Don’t be those people. Start by simply removing one base of support. So, instead of being on all fours, raise one arm or leg out in the air. Hold, rest, and repeat on the other side. For more ideas, read The New Rules of Lifting For Abs by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. It offers dozens of plank variations, including ones where your arms and legs move while holding the plank—that’s serious core strength. Be aware, however, that to “bring out” your abs, you need to eat for them. That means cutting calories to lose fat.

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