Why should I plank?

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Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that planks are one of the best moves to tone your abs, back and shoulders and build core strength.  Here are a few other reasons why you might want to give them a try…

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  • Prevent injury – unlike crunches which can be brutal on your back, when done correctly, planks engage all your deep core muscles, protecting your back and building strength.  If you plank regularly, the benefits will be far greater than a toned mid-section too, and you’ll find dynamic movements such as squats, lunges and even press ups become much easier as the muscle groups supporting your spine become stronger.
  • Boosted metabolism – planks burn more calories than other ab exercise, even concentrated ones like crunches, as they force you to lock and tighten other major muscle groups including your shoulders, abs and glutes.  Try to challenge yourself by trying to hold the position for an extra 10 seconds each time – if you plank daily, you’ll be surprised how quickly your strength improves!
  • Better posture – our posture is directly linked to our core because let me tell you, it can be tiring holding ourselves up all day.  By working on your core strength, you’ll naturally stand taller and you’ll suffer less back, neck and shoulder pain as a result.
  • Improved flexibility – you might not think a static plank position can improve your flexibility, but this simple move stretches your hamstrings, arches of your feet as well as your shoulders and collarbone.  Take this one step further by rotating into a side plank and reap the benefits of working your obliques!

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LUXE / HEALTH sprint circuit…

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People tend to shy away from sprint training thinking that its’ benefits are reserved for runners or professional athletes.  But in reality, sprints (and hill sprints in particular), are a great way to burn fat from all over your body.  Not only that, but sprint training improves your aerobic fitness far quicker than if you were to just go for a leisurely jog.

When I’m short on time or feeling uninspired, I can always find the energy to bust out a quick sprint circuit.  So, here’s how to recreate my workout for yourself…

  • Firstly, it’s vital to warm up properly, especially if you’re not a regular runner (for beginners, I’d start by running on the flat before progressing to an incline).  So to begin, go for a gentle 5-10 minute jog to make sure your legs are warmed up properly.
  • Secondly, do some dynamic stretches – walking lunges, leg swings (forward and back as well as lateral) and stretch your calves thoroughly by dropping your heel off the side of the curb.

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  • Mark out 3 distances – 25m, 50m and 75m (the distances don’t have to be precise and if you find a quiet street, just use intersections or trees as your markers to make it easier)
  • Once you’ve warmed up – sprint to the 75m mark as fast as you can, then slowly walk back down the hill to the starting position.  This is your recovery, so take your time.  Then, repeat once more.
  • Sprint to the 50m mark and again, walk slowly back to the starting position.  Repeat two more times.
  • Finally, sprint to the 25m mark and return slowly to the starting position.  Repeat five times.
  • And that’s it – you’re done!  Super simple and done and dusted in 25 minutes.

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