Basic Strength Training Routine
The plank is an ________ exercise, which means you just hold the position.
Hi, I'm author, speaker and trainer JJ Flizanes of JJFlizanes.com. And I'm here to speak to you today on behalf of About.com about creating and designing a basic strength training program. The first exercise we're going to do is called standing hip flexion. You're going to start with your feet hip width apart, transfer your body weight to one side, extend your leg, and lock your knee, and point your toe. I want you to think about lifting your leg by contracting your quadricep muscles. So imagine from the knee you're actually pulling your leg up with this top muscle. Pull it up as high as you can while keeping your spine nice and straight, and then lower down slowly without putting too much weight on it when you come down.Exercise number two is called a row. You're going to start with your arms directly in front of you with your elbows locked. It's not about pulling the handle closer to you, it's about pulling your shoulder blades closer together. You're going to take about 2-3 counts to pull back, exhale as you do it. The third exercise is called the plank. The plank is an isometric exercise, which means you just hold the position. Place your arms underneath your shoulders and you're going to bring your body weight up onto your toes. The base of your spine and your head should be in alignment, as if you are a table. You don't want your butt to be too high in the air, and you definitely don't want your butt to sag lower than the rest of you. Keep your abs tight, keep thinking of pushing away from the floor, and make sure you are breathing.The fourth exercise is called the bridge. Start by lying on the floor, feet flat, knees bent, feet hip width apart. Concentrate on contracting the hamstrings and the glutes to lift your butt up in the air. Exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower towards the floor, but do not rest. Take two counts to lift, take two counts to lower.The fifth and final exercise is a crunch. I want you to pay attention to my ribs. First I'll show you an improper crunch, what most people are doing. It looks like this. Notice the first thing I'm lifting is my head, neck and shoulders. You haven't even seen my abs move yet.Here is the proper form for a true crunch. I'm pulling my ribs down first, and my ribs and my abs are now pulling me up. So you're focused right here on the ribs, the abs are contracting, and because they're pulling down, the rest of me is coming up. You want to exhale on the way up, and inhale as you lower back down. If you are a beginner, start by doing this set of exercises once or twice a week. For each exercise, you want to do two consecutive sets, anywhere from 15 to 25 reps, with the exception of the plank. You're going to be holding the plank for 60 seconds. That is considered one set. And then you're going to do it again. Thanks for watching. For more information, please visit us online at About.com.