G.I. Cain Report (No. 1)

Wide-leg front plank

Wide-leg front plank

September 12, 2011

In just over eight weeks, I will debut my one-arm push-ups—my shoulder salute to all of our brave veterans.  I’ve been working hard at it and have made good progress over the summer.  One of the strengthening exercises I’m doing is a wide-leg, narrow-arm plank (see picture).  I go down halfway and hold, then lower myself almost to the ground and hold, and then come back up, pausing midway again.  Now, if I can just do it with one arm! (To be continued…).

A plank is a great way to strengthen your upper body, abdominal muscles, and even your thighs—all at the same time.  So, here’s an ‘age stronger’ tip–practice planking…

Front Plank

If you are new to this exercise, I recommend starting on your knees or standing up and pushing against a wall.

  1. Kneel on all fours (hopefully on a padded floor), with your hands positioned directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.  Keep back straight with belly button pulling up toward spine and shoulder blades pulled flat down back.
  2. Extend right leg back, keeping toes pressing into floor and then extend your left leg to come up in the plank position.  Be sure to keep belly button pulled in toward spine (no slouching in the middle!).  If you are staying on your knees, walk your hands forward until you can drop your hips and form a straight plank from your knees to the crown of your head.  Remember, belly button stays pulled in toward spine!
  3. Keep body in a straight line by reaching through crown (chin slightly tucked), pulling shoulder blades down, squeezing your magazine muscles, keeping abs pulled in, and tightening your buttocks & the fronts of your thighs (quadriceps).
  4. Hold this position for a few breaths and then come back to starting position.  Repeat 6 times.

Standing Version

  1. Stand up straight, about an arm’s length away from a wall, palms against the wall about chest height, and belly button pulled toward spine.
  2. Now, keeping arms extended straight in front of you, move both feet back a little so that your hips slant forward, but back stays straight (no slouching in the middle!).
  3. Keep body in a straight line by reaching through crown (chin slightly tucked), pulling shoulder blades down, squeezing your magazine muscles, keeping abs pulled in, and tightening your buttocks & the fronts of your thighs (quadriceps).
  4. Press weight evenly into wall with palms and floor with feet, keeping tension by squeezing muscles.  Hold tension for a few breaths, then release.  Repeat 6 times.

Special Note: As many of you know, I am planning to also debut my “Stronger Push-Ups” Workout on Veteran’s Day and half of all sales will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Wounded Warrior was founded in 2003 to help injured soldiers returning from the post 9/11 military campaigns.  On this tenth anniversary of 9/11, let us pause for a moment, and remember the victims and their families, and be grateful for our freedom.

About Annette Cain

Annette Cain is an award-winning author, endurance athlete and certified personal trainer.

Known as the Longevity Lady™ Annette helps baby boomers age stronger so their bodies can keep up with their lives. Her ageless lifestyle products and programs provide an easy and balanced approach to becoming lean & limber and living younger longer.

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