One Stop Shop for a Skinny Waist

core Dec 05, 2015

Favorite exercise alert! Okay, I admit it, I have a lot of favorite exercises. But for good reason! They feel gooooood, they energize me and they make me stop hurting (yes, I have tight muscles, too). Today's favorite exercise is called: Twisted Plank. I made that up. Since I'm not very creative in naming exercises you get what you expect: a plank and a twist.

Why I love plank:

  • It strengthens arms and shoulders
  • It strengthens the core
  • It's a full body exercise (arms, shoulder, back, abdominal, leg and feet muscles are involved)
  • Makes a skinny waist (by using the transversus abdominal (TA) muscle)

Why I love twists:

  • They strengthen the obliques, two of your abdominal muscles
  • They stretch your back muscles
  • They improve digestion (by toning the abdominal muscles)
  • They make a skinny waist (see above)

This makes Twisted Planks the best of two worlds. Yay! Let's do it!

Signs for a good plank:

  • Wrists directly underneath shoulders
  • Elbows straight but not locked
  • All toes are pressing down into the floor
  • Thighs are lifting
  • Waist is lifting
  • Shoulder blades slide down the back

Perfect. Let's move on...

Organize your feet first

Turn your right foot, so your toes are pointing to the left and the outer edge of the foot is on the floor. Like this:

 

Make sure that the foot is very flexed to protect your ankle. Half of your body weight will be supported on that ankle, and pulling the toes strongly up to the shins (dorsiflexion of the ankle) will engage the muscles around the ankle, all the way up to the knees.

Then turn your left foot as well, so the toes are pointing to the left, and keep it strongly flexed.

Now you should look like this:

Let's find those sneaky seductive tricks that the path of least resistance uses to make the exercise useless, and correct them.

What to watch out for

  • First a reminder: Flex your feet like you mean it. Please!
  • Straighten both arms. Notice if your right arm is slightly bent. Or if your right shoulder is lower than the right. Keeping the arms straight and the shoulders level makes the twist more intense. Feel it now? Wicked twisted! (Learned that in New England!)
  • Notice if your hips are in the diagonal between feet and shoulders. At first they will probably be higher, like this:

Try to lower the hips a bit down, as this makes the twist more effective. BUT - this might not be possible for you right now. Your back might be too tight and if you feel your low back tweaking, don't do it either. Keep your hips higher at first (like in the image above) and over time you can work up to lowering the hips a bit to make the twist more intense. Never lower the hips below the diagonal. (This is also called sagging, yikes!)

Check that your hips are not pushed out to one side, as seen here:

But instead keep your hips aligned between your ankles and shoulders. Like this:

For an additional challenge for your balance, stack your feet...

If your wrists bother you, do the exercise on your elbows

 

How do you like that? Go practice! And I want to see pictures of the skinny waists! As well as your questions.

Cheers,

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