I have spoken rather a lot about the many benefits of planking regularly, from tightening and strengthening your abs and core muscles, to building your upper body strength, boosting heart health and blood circulation and even helping to improve your posture. And the best thing about it? It’s totally free and can be done in the comfort of your own living room!
I aim to plank around 3 times a week, sometimes doing a regular and side plank series to really challenge my entire core section. But this week, I tried the Single-Leg Proformer Plank in my Pilates class. I know it looks a little treacherous, but it’s simpler than it seems – and you certainly don’t need to do it on top of a machine to enjoy all of its benefits!
The advantage of lifting your leg for your body, is that it further challenges your core and upper body to remain stable, while also lifting your glute muscles for a perkier backside. And who wouldn’t want that?!
Here’s how to do the Single-Leg Plank:
- You may want to use a mat, rug or towel to lean on for comfort. Start in an all-fours position, leaning on either your elbows or your hands, depending on what you find more challenging. The most important part is to keep your shoulders above and in line with your elbow joints and your neck neutral, so your head is neither up nor down but a continuous line from your spine.
- Stretch your right leg out behind you, followed by your left leg, leaning on your toes. You want your back to be straight, with your bottom tucked in and your tummy button pulled in towards your spine. It’s these core muscles that will keep your entire body stable.
- Start by lifting your right leg up, so that your foot is suspended in line with your hips or a little bit higher. Focus on squeezing your bum muscles, while keeping your core engaged. Hold it for 20-60 seconds, depending on your own ability.
- Repeat with the left leg. Try doing 3 rounds of the whole exercise, while alternating your legs, and aim to do it about 3 times a week for noticeably increased core strength 🙂