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Lighten Up with Derek and Vicki!

Ab and upper body challenge

Can one simple exercise improve your upper body strength as well as your abdominals? The answer is yes. The name of the move is the plank and you can perform a variety of versions to accommodate most every fitness level.

What you want to picture in your mind is a plank of wood. The easiest and most effective version is to hold the up position of a men’s pushup and start counting. Get on the ground and act like you are going to do a pushup. Don’t go down like regular pushups just hold at the top. You can start with 15-20 seconds and work up from there.

Most men can do this with little effort in the beginning. They’re even happy they don’t have to go up and down. After 30-45 seconds the arms start to shake. This is when it gets challenging.

I have several women in their late 70’s do this. They are really exceptional for their age group and started with only 20 seconds. An easier way to start for beginners is to hold the pushup position on an incline angle. Push a chair or bench up against a wall and act like you are going to do pushup. Hold it at the top and count. You can also lie on your belly. Bend you arms so your fists are by your armpits. Go up on your toes and up on your forearms. This is easier on the wrists and not as tough on the upper body.

If you are advanced and want a challenge, do the plank with your toes on a box. You want to be in a position so your feet and shoulders are level. The guys in good shape can hold this for one to two minutes.

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I’m Derick Rotunno and I would be happy to discuss how we can help you.