Exercise of the Month – February 2014
Last newsletter, we covered the “Front Plank, as an excellent “full body” strengthener, targeting the entire core. This newsletter we will discuss the Side Plank, as “increased intensity” exercise to strengthen the core. This exercise is suggested as the “next step,” after you have mastered the Front Plank.
This exercise is an excellent “full body” strengthener, with a focus of working one side of the body at a time. It intensely targets the muscle groups of your back, abdominals, and obliques (a.k.a , your “CORE”), while working your arms, shoulders, and chest, without exercise equipment.
Starting Position: Lie on the right side of your body, on top of an exercise mat/floor with your right elbow, for shoulder support, directly under your right shoulder. Place the forearm of the right arm, in front of you. Place your right palm down on the mat. Fully extend the left arm up and out toward the ceiling, pointing the fingertips upward.
Upward Phase: Contract your core muscles and slowly lift/push the right side your body and hip into a bridge pose, with upper body off the mat, feet stacked on top of one another, on the mat. Maintain a stiff torso and stiff straight legs. Avoid arching/sagging at the waist or bending the knees. Relax your shoulders. Keep your shoulder positioned directly over your elbow with your palm facing down. Continue to breathe while holding this position for 10 to 30 seconds. (You must hold this position long enough to feel your body shake with exhaustion for at least 10 seconds.)
Downward Phase: While maintaining a stiff torso and extended legs, gently lower the right side of the body until it touches the mat.
Repeat this exercise on the left side of the body.
If you experience any pain in the shoulder and/or low back with this exercise, stop immediately and consult with your doctor.
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