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latimes.com

Good Form: A little plank movement does a lot of work

Karen Voight

Good Form

January 10, 2011

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If you are familiar with performing a traditional elbow plank, try this new variation for an extra challenge to your core muscles. Just remember to make your movements very small in order to keep it safe and effective.

Begin on all fours. Position your elbows directly below your shoulders and place your hands and forearms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Straighten your legs behind you. Balance on your toes and forearms as you bring your hips down to shoulder level. Keep you knees straight and press your heels back. Pause for two breaths.

On an exhalation, contract your abdominals and use your core muscles to raise your pelvis a few inches higher. Pause, continuing to hold your abs firm to support the weight of your pelvis. Slowly lower your hips back down to shoulder level and pause. Repeat this small movement three to six times. Release by bending your knees and sit back on your heels to rest. Repeat the entire exercise one more time.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."

karen@karenvoight.com