I am always singing the praises of my favorite core exercise, the plank. It is tried and true, the BEST exercise to keep your core muscle group strong, stable, and engaged. If you are also a fan and have been performing these exercises for a while, maybe it’s time to take it to the next level.
Following is a variation of the standard plank that will add a bit of challenge to this already powerful exercise.
Sawing Your Way To a Flatter Stomach
The Saw Plank may sound odd, but the results can’t be denied. And just because it’s not a mainstream exercise doesn’t mean it’s not effective. In fact, today’s best celebrity trainers know it is one of the most effective abdominal exercises out there in terms of muscle recruitment and results.
The Saw Plank
The Saw Plank is performed using sliders for your feet. Assume a push-up position, except rest on your forearms instead of your hands. With your feet on the sliders, move your body forward and backward (like a saw), tightening your abs and using your shoulders to create the motion. Be sure to keep your entire body parallel to the floor, ensuring your hips stay in line with your shoulders and feet.
Check out the following video to learn a progression of the saw plank:
Sometimes motivation comes from competition. I have to admit… I like to compete. If I’m not competing with someone else, I’m competing with myself. So, when I took a kickboxing class I think it was a match made in heaven. Learn why a kickboxing class might give you the competitive edge you need to stay motivated in your fitness routine!
Kick Box and Kick Butt
I was set on losing weight two years ago so I joined a gym. I went to step classes to build up some endurance and then tried kickboxing. I loved it for its all-over body work-out. It made my arms just as strong as my legs and the kicks loosened up my lower back and hips the same way yoga did. I can’t get into treadmills — too boring. I need a group exercise class to keep me going.
With kickboxing, I had a whole room of people to compete with. Just being in a high energy class like that was inspiring. It’s tougher than any other exercise and I loved that! It took six months, but I lost 35 pounds and I’ve kept it off for a year.
This week we are learning from fit Moms who have it all! You know who I’m talking about…. the Moms that balance children, work, home, spouse, fitness and still have the energy left to smile about it all! Take a look at these Moms who have mastered the art of making “me time” and learned that it truly is time well spent.
Prioritize, Manage Your Time, and Refuse Excuses
Being a mom is about learning to prioritize. Moms are often torn choosing between putting their family first or putting themselves first. As hard as it is, I try my best to balance between the two. And giving yourself some “me time” makes you a better mom, because you have more patience, energy and enthusiasm for everything you do for your family.
I am a mother of two (Alexander 7.5 and Zosia 5 years old), and for the last 7 years I devote my mornings 100% to my family. I used to wear sneakers and run with my stroller. Now that they are older, once I drop them off to school, I rush to workout. Every day I could find thousands of excuses not to workout, but they are the worst excuses. I learned to refuse to make them.
I make calls and emails when I am shopping and walking on the street, I choose markets that can deliver to my house so that groceries get delivered and I can stay out and finish my errands. Time and task management is critical. I plan everything in my head before I leave the house. I noticed that being content with myself and my body there is one less thing to worry about and I can focus on other things.
About the Author: Sylwia Wiesenberg, a mom of two, is the founder of Tonique Fitness. Tonique is an intense workout that uses multidirectional movements that target every part of your body, working every muscle at every angle. Sylwia developed Tonique with her own goals in mind – to stay fit, firm and remain youthful forever. After years of perfecting her moves and developing new routines, she realized that she shared dreams with many women around her. She began training them and they achieved amazing results with her Tonique method. Most of her clients are moms. read more →
The new school year is almost upon us and along with back to school shopping for needed supplies we are also shuffling around our schedules to make sure we fit everything in. Don’t let your exercise routine get pushed to the side. Try creating your own fitness mantra to help motivate you!
We are always looking for ways to kick our workout up a notch and take it to the next level. Jonathan Aluzas, Owner at Arena Fitness, tells us we don’t have to complicate things for them to be challenging. Learn a new workout challenge that will enhance your exercise routine.
We are on the hunt for intense training routines that will motivate and challenge us to perform. We like to feel the results of our Pretty Hard Work, knowing we pushed ourselves to our maximum potential.
So, if you’re tired of doing the same old exercises and are looking for a new challenge, try using our guest blogger, Kerry Ann King’s suggestion. But beware… this is no lightweight workout!
Barre Class Isn’t for Sissies!
Barre classes are one of the hot new trends in group fitness. As a rule, they incorporate low-resistance high-rep exercises taken from the world of dance, with stretches and abdominal work. In my classes I use a combination of exercises derived from ballet, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, african dance and even hip hop, and blend this with yoga and Pilates-based stretches. The result is a super-toning, core-strengthening workout.
And don’t assume that because these exercises are usually done in toe shoes and tutus means that they are not athletic. Prepare to feel the burn. I recently shared some of these exercises with a male client. He couldn’t believe how much he was feeling his legs the next day! Adding a barre-type class once a week can challenge even the most jaded athlete.
How have you upped the ante by adding an intense exercise routine to your fitness program? read more →
Effective Chest Exercise
A good chest exercise is the dumbbell chest press. If you have some dumbbells and a bench, you will lie on the bench on your back, take the dumbbells, with weight that is not to heavy and not to light, and do positives and negatives for about 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Make May your month of Action! There is still time to get into shape for swimsuit season. What action step have you taken today to prepare yourself for the beach this summer? read more →
Mountain Climbers for Stronger and Tighter Glutes
Incline Mountain Climbers – Using the incline of a bench, this exercise engages every muscle below your pelvis especially the glutes while building a stronger core in this plane of motion. By utilizing the incline bench, this exercise will incorporate more muscle fibers in your glutes, hamstrings, and calves then doing this exercise on a flat surface. Mountain Climbers are a movement that can be considered the equivalent to running horizontally.
To perform, start in a military push-up position and keep your elbows slightly bent holding on to an incline bench. Bend one knee and bring it up to your chest, as if trying to touch your shoulder. Then, draw the leg back and perform with the other leg. While alternating legs, maintain a consistent solid speed throughout.
Remember to keep a neutral spinal position and don’t drop your hips. Beginners should set a goal of three sets of 20 repetitions while resting 30 seconds in between sets. The more advanced individual should shoot for three sets of 50-80 repetitions.
For further demonstration, check out this video we found on Youtube:
Swimsuit Ready Challenge
This exercise is part of our Swimsuit Ready Challenge (April 2-30, 2012). Do this exercise and comment below “I did this!” to be entered to win our $100 and $50 giveaways. You may enter up to one time per day through April 30th.
Also – be sure to share this on Facebook, Pinterest and other sites to let your friends cheer you on or – better yet – join in on the challenge so they can hang out on the beach with you this summer! read more →
Okay – you’ve checked your butt out in jeans all winter long – what is it going to look like when you slip into your bikini this summer? Let’s work to get that booty tightened up for swimsuit season:
When we asked for booty-kicking exercises… Stacey Garcia heard us! She sent us this tooshie-terminating exercise that is great for toning your rear end AND working out a little aggression! It’s like kickboxing on all fours!
We’ve done this kicks to the side and to back – but since we knew that the side kicks burned a little more than the back kicks, we made sure to have Rach show you how to do those:
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