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Fitness

The exercise that's a core part of Victoria Beckham’s two-hour workout

January 22nd 2019 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment

plank_victoria-beckham.jpg

Images: @victoriabeckham

Turns out Posh is a fan of planks and does them daily to tone her core. From the right technique to the best plank workouts on Instagram, here’s how to master and upgrade this key ab strengthener

In between managing a hugely successful fashion line, being a mum, uploading new videos to her YouTube channel, launching her new Reebok collection and working on her “affordable luxury” beauty range (set to launch later on this year), it would seem very unlikely that Victoria Beckham would find the time to exercise. But she somehow does - at a price though. She has to wake up super early to fit it in, spending two hours from 5.30am or 6am working up a sweat so she can still make the school run. A particularly versatile move that features in her plans? The far-reaching plank.

She told the Guardian that she does "loads of planks" to strengthen her core, once she's done a 45-minute, 7km run on the treadmill (watching TV boxsets and documentaries to keep her motivated) and done her toning and conditioning exercises, targeting her legs and arms, with a trainer.

The plank, when done correctly, can help you develop not just better ab definition but improve posture, balance and range of movement. However, done badly, it can cause back pain and neck strain.

How to nail the basic forearm plank

Form is what matters most. When it comes to doing a standard plank on your forearms: “Keep your body straight with your shoulder blades drawn back and down, abs braced and glutes tight,” says personal trainer David Higgins, author of The Hollywood Body Plan. Rest on your elbows and toes, look down towards the mat and hold the position for two minutes, he says.

If two minutes is too long for you though, build it up gradually. Start with 10 seconds. Planks are also great done as sets. After resting for anywhere between five and 10 seconds, hold your plank again, aiming for three sets in total. Don’t force yourself to hold the moves to the point where it feels uncomfortable on the lower back though.

Upgrade your plank: inspiration from our favourite experts

There are a number of ways to switch up your plank for a greater challenge. Here are some of our favourite upgrades on Instagram.

Cathy Madeo - plank slides

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“For these, as you come high up on your toes, the shoulders must pass the wrist and hips high as the feet slide back to add in a chaturanga... and work to make it as seamless as possible,” says Cathy.

Shona Vertue - how to do a side plank

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“If you sag into your shoulder, it will a) be impossible to lift your hips off and b) hurt your shoulder and c) won’t really work your obliques. Probably just your back,” says Shona in this really useful video. “Instead, try to elongate your body away from your elbow, rather than collapsing towards it.” She recommends hollowing your back to prevent potential arching and therefore, injury.

Lisa Lanceford - elbow to hand planks

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This core workout targets a range of different stomach muscles in one go and comprises of: three sets of 20 elbow to hand planks, three sets of 20 side planks with leg lifts, three sets of 12 hand to feet ball passes and an invisible stair climb with pull ups.

Kayla Itsines - how to do an incline plank

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Doing a plank on an unstable surface such as a fitball, adds an extra level of difficulty to the move. Try holding it for 30 seconds.

Joe Wicks - side plank pulses

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This pretty meaty abs circuit features 15 hanging knee raises, 15 crunches, 15 ab roll outs, 15 side plank pulses, 15 reverse crunches, 20 slow mountain climbers and 15 kettlebell standing side crunches. Not one for the faint-hearted.

Stefanie Williams - dumbbell lift plank

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To up the difficulty ante even more, add weights to your plank. Aim for 12 reps.

Read more: 5 belly fat-blitzing workouts from The Body Coach

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