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6. Plank Pose
- Why It’s Good for You: This exercise strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominis, as well as your shoulder and back muscles.
- Starting Position: Begin on your hands and knees with your palms under your shoulders. Extend both legs straight behind you, toes tucked under, into a position like the top of a pushup. Pull your abdominal muscles in to prevent a "sway back," and gaze down at the floor.
- The Move: Hold the plank until you start feeling fatigued. Rest and then repeat. Keep your abdominals pulled in and up so your low back doesn't sag as you exhale.
- Increase the Intensity: Balance on your forearms instead of your hands.
Tips and Precautions
- Pull your abdominal muscles in and up toward your spine as you exercise.
- Work with slow, controlled movements, breathing evenly, without holding your breath.
- Tailor your number of repetitions and sets to your current level of core fitness.
- If you have mild back pain, core-strengthening exercises may improve posture, ease symptoms, and prevent future pain. If you have severe back pain or injury, are out of shape, or have any medical problems, talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program. Some exercises may not be recommended.
- Stop doing any activity that causes pain or makes pain worse.