10 Plank Exercises To Get You Bikini Ready For Summer!
They say summer bodies are made in the winter! Today I want to share some of my favorite plank exercises for working the abs, strengthening your core and toning the entire body! These moves are designed to build core strength and help tone your midsection so you can feel confident in your bikini this summer! Add these moves to your workout routine 3-4x a week and you will see some amazing results!
3 Benefits of Performing Planks on a Regular Basis
A Tight and Toned Belly
Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for toned abs. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will tighten, getting your ready for bikini season!
Less Back Pain
As a Physical Therapist, I like to incorporate planks into my programs because it helps to strengthen your core and back muscles. Clinical research shows that strengthening these muscles significantly reduces low back pain!
Improved Balance and Posture
To do a plank correctly, you must engage your abs to stay upright. Side planks or planks with extensions are particularly beneficial for building balance as your muscles are challenged to keep your spine in proper alignment. Planks work all the muscles you need to maintain proper posture, such as your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck. If you do planks regularly, you’ll find you’re able to sit or stand up straighter with greater ease.
Important tips to perform a proper plank
- Engage your transverse abdominus muscle ( the deeper abdominal muscle). This muscle is your internal support system and you need it to develop a strong core! Make sure you keep this engaged during this entire workout (don’t worry I will remind you). To do this, draw your navel in towards your spine. Think of it as “bracing” your abdominals as if expecting a punch in the stomach!
- Keep good posture. You should not feel any stress in your neck! Keep your shoulders down away from your ears, wrists under you shoulders and head in neutral: looking down at your fingertips
- Distribute your weight evenly so you work your entire body and don’t feel too much stress on your shoulders. Do this by engaging your quads: squeeze your thigh muscles as tight as you can and press your weight back through your heels.
- You can modify a plank by dropping to your knees and still get great results. You can work your way up to a full plank as your get stronger!
How to perform this routine:
Perform each plank exercise as outlined below. Rest for 1 minute. Perform 2-3 rounds total!
- High to low plank
- Begin in a full plank position as shown. Keep your wrists under your shoulders, shoulders down away from your ears and back straight. Engage your abs by drawing your navel in towards your spine as you lower into a forearm plank position one arm at a time as shown. Return to full plank position, trying to keep your back as straight as you can. That is one full rep. Perform 10 reps.
- Plank with spider push up
- Begin in a plank position as outlined above. Bring your right foot and right hand forward at the same time, then perform a push up as shown. Return to start position. Repeat on the opposite side for one full rep. Perform 10 reps.
- Side plank rotations
- Begin in a full plank position. Shift your weight onto your right hand as you move into a side plank rolling to the outer edge of your right foot. Keep your abs engaged and lift your hips up towards the ceiling as your raise your left arm up as shown. Return to plank position and repeat on the opposite side for one full rep. Perform 10 reps
- Side plank with hip dips
- Begin in a forearm side plank position as shown. Keeping your back straight and abs engaged, drop your hips down to the floor and then lift up and return to start position to work the obliques! Perform 15 reps on each side.
- Forearm plank with hip drop
- Begin in a forearm plank position as shown. Keep your elbows under your shoulders, abs engaged and back straight. Drop your hips to the right to touch the floor and return to start. Repeat on the opposite side for one full rep. Perform 10 reps.
- Full plank with hip extension
- Begin in a full plank position as outlined above. Keep your abs engaged as your lift your right leg behind you squeezing your glutes. Return to start and repeat on the left side for one full rep. Make sure your back stays straight. Perform 10 full reps.
- Plank with opposite arm/leg lift
- Begin in a full plank position. Engaging your abs and keeping your back straight lift opposite arm and leg at the same time. Slowly lower back down to plank and repeat on the opposite side for one full rep. Perform 10 reps total. Try to think about balancing a cup of water on your back (or a nice glass of wine) that you do not want to spill! If this is too much for you to start, you can always drop to your knees and perform this exercise on hands and knees!
- Plank Jacks
- Begin in a full plank position as shown. Engage your abs as you perform a plank jack by jumping your feet out to the sides and then back in to start position. Try to keep your upper body still and back straight. Perform 15 reps.
- Plank marches
- Begin in a full plank position as outlined above. Keep your abs engaged as you bring your right knee towards your chest like you are marching. I like to think about trying to bring my knee to my nose as I squeeze my abs. Repeat on the left side for one full rep. Perform 15 full reps.
- Reverse Plank
- Sit on your yoga mat or floor with your legs extended out straight in front of you, fingertips facing forward. Lift your hips up off the mat towards the ceiling as you squeeze your glutes so your body is in one straight line as shown. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and eye gaze up towards the ceiling. This move is challenging! Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3x. As it gets easier, work your way up to one minute!
Add these plank exercises into your daily routine and get ready to tone those abs so you can rock that bikini this summer!
Looking for more workouts to tone those abs and get bikini ready? Check out some of my favorites here!
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Hope you enjoy the workout!
Until next time,
Dr. Allie Flowers, PT, DPT, RYT