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Plank you very much!

Over the last few years, planks have become as common as crunches and hanging leg raises. A recent study has shown how to get even more out of this challenging core exercise. Noted exercise researcher Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS, in a study published in Sports Biomechanics, measured the amount of muscle activation in four variations of the plank. The most active version was the “long-lever posterior-tilt plank.” To perform this exercise, get into a traditional plank position but bring your elbows forward so they are under your nose rather than beneath the shoulders. Then tilt the pelvis as if you’re trying to bring your hip bones toward your ster-num and your sit bones to your feet. Keep the body straight and the core muscles contracted for multiple intervals of 30 to 60 seconds. Schoenfeld notes that more research is needed to ascertain specif-ic performance, aesthetic, or rehab benefits of this plank, but in our book, the more muscle activation the better.

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