The only abdominal/core exercise you’ll ever need

Crunches are over-rated. In a desk-bound, car-bound world, we don’t need anything else to bring our shoulders forward. If you do one exercise, let it be a plank on your elbows:

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This will get your stomach toned and strong and support your posture. Notice how my hips are in line with my shoulders and ankles. Pull your stomach in to your back as if you are in a high school reunion picture that will be posted all over Facebook.

Make sure you don’t arch your back:

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Lift your bottom above your shoulders:

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Or, scrunch your shoulders to your ears:

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Send those ears away from your shoulders as if you are under a waterfall in Hawaii or wherever your happy place may be.

Now, a good goal is to be able to hold this plank for two minutes. Here is your schedule to accomplish this in two weeks. Yet– I must mention that this is an exercise program. A plank is an exercise. Do these moves at your own risk and be sure to consult a doctor before starting any new exercise.

Day 1: Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 2: Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 3: Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 2 times.

Day 4: Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 5: Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 6: Hold for 40 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 7: Hold for 50 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Day 8: Hold for 1 minute. Repeat 2 times. Then get up and do your happy dance! You are on your way to a strong core and flat abdominals!

Day 9: Hold for 70 seconds: Repeat 2 times.

Day 10: Hold for 80 seconds. Repeat 2 times.

Day 11: Hold for 90 seconds. Repeat 2 times.

Day 12: Hold for 100 seconds. Repeat.

Day 13: Hold for 110 seconds Repeat.

Day 14: Hold for 2 minutes! You did it!!!!!

Notice how you do more repetitions with the shorter holds. I have developed this program so that you ease into the two minute plank. If while you are holding the plank, you start to feel it in your back, stop. In Pilates, the form is more important that the repetitions or how much weight you lift. This program will assure that you are able to hold Plank with proper form and keep tension out of your back and neck. Newer exercise students make take longer than the two weeks to accomplish the two minute hold. Always listen to your body and do the exercise with ease. Also, don’t forget to breath. Holding your breath will not help you on this series.

This exercise is really great for anyone who is post-natal. I recommend walking, planks, and kegels for the first six months.

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