6- pack? Please and plank you.

At Heroes Fitness we want our members to squeeze the most out of their memberships and to do that we are here to help you. Our personal trainers are always a wonderful resource for you as members. They are full of helpful tips and tricks and are more than willing to assist you with any workout wonders you may have. The number one concern area for most people, as reported by our personal trainers, is the tummy. People want to tighten and tone the mid-section, especially now during pool season. Though there are many ways to do so, including what goes on in the kitchen, we want to give you one of our most prized exercises to help strengthen and shrink the stubborn belly–planks!

Planks are one of our all-time favorite exercises at Heroes Fitness. They are a full body workout and a great go-to when you are crunched for time or want to hit multiple muscle groups with one move. After a short time holding a plank your shoulders, core, back, and quads will be shaky and getting a killer workout! Try to incorporate some of these plank exercises into your next workout:

Traditional Plank

Work this into your circuit or end your tough cardio workout with a few reps of holding a traditional plank. Essentially, the traditional plank looks like you are in a high push-up position with your wrists under your shoulders, a flat, straight back, engaged legs and balancing on the ball mounds of your feet. Use your core by engaging your abs disallowing your back to sway and sag towards the ground. To modify, you can drop to your forearms or down to your knees, both of which are still tough workouts. Hold this position for anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Challenge yourself and see how long with proper alignment you can stay!

Forearm to High Push-Up Plank

This is a great way to mix it up by adding some more dynamic movement in your traditional plank. Begin in a forearm plank, with arms about should length apart. Press up through the right hand and then the left so that you are now in a high push-up plank position. Drop with control back to one forearm and then the next so that you are back in your starting position. Focus on tightening your core in the up and down movement to maintain the integrity of your spine and shoulder strength. Your obliques and shoulders will feel this one in no time!

Bosu Ball Balance Plank

This one is easy to explain, less easy to do. Grab a bosu ball ( the half physio ball, dome shaped balancing ball), flip it upside down so that the plastic base is up and the ball is on the ground. Place your hands on the grips on either side of the plastic base and use this to challenge your core as you plank from a high push-up position. To combat the urge to sway your low back, engage your core by pulling your belly back towards your spine. You can also drop to your knees to maintain a flat, strong back. Shoot for 30 seconds, and do 3 reps.

Physio Ball Pike Plank

Okay, so this one is by far the trickiest and toughest of the group, but you will feel that six pack forming immediately. Sometimes just getting this one started is the trickiest part. You will need to balance your feet in the center of a physio ball and come into a high plank position, so as if you were going to do push-ups with your feet on the ball. (Tip: We like to lay with our belly on the ball and roll out, walking our hands out until our feet are the only things balancing on the ball.) Once you are in your high push-up plank position, roll up to the tips of your toes as you engage your low ab muscles and pike up to an inverted V position. Slowly release back out into a high plank and repeat. This one burns, but you will love the results! Try 3 sets of 10 reps.

Hope you learned something new and want to work these plank variations into your workout. You will not be sad that you did. Challenge your entire core with these moves. And for more tips and exercise ideas, consult with one of our awesome Heroes Fitness personal trainers!