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When thinking about ab work, most people will automatically think of sit ups and crunches.
There are actually plenty of other exercises that tone and sculpt your abs more than crunches and situps. Most of them are actually much better for your back.
Crunches put a lot of pressure on your lower back, which can lead to future injuries. If done improperly, you can severely hurt your back.
Planks on the other hand, are a great exercise for your abs that actually lifts the pressure off your back. You also spend less time doing planks so it`s actually much more efficient.
Planks target your shoulders, your biceps and your abdominal muscles. This gives you that sculpted upper body look.
How to do a plank:
1. Start by lying on your stomach, extending your legs behind you with your toes on the ground. Your arms should be by your chest folded out in front of you.
2. Lift yourself up with your forearms on the ground. Your arms should make a 90 degree angle.
3. Make sure your butt is not in the air or pointed up. Squeeze your glutes and your butt should automatically be aligned with the rest of your body.
Hold for 30 seconds. Then lower yourself down. Repeat this exercise about 10 times. Over time, you will be able to hold yourself for 1 - 2 minutes straight. This will help strengthen your arms and abs as they are the core muscles at work here.
If your elbows hurt, try putting a folded yoga mat right under it.
Hope that helps.
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