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January 2017 Issue
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Planking for your core

Lift your leg in the air, bend your knee and bring it to your nose. Photo: Tony Gazley

THE PLANK pose is simply the top of a press-up. When done correctly, it builds core and upper body strength. But press-ups can be hard on the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints, and even the lower back. This variation can be easier on your joints and back.

  1. Start in a plank position (or the top of a press-up) with hands under your shoulders and feet hip width apart. Your hands should be at least as wide as your shoulders. Spread and press through fingers to protect your wrists.
  2. Push your hips up and back to down dog (another common yoga pose).
  3. Lift your right leg up in the air.
  4. Bend your right knee. Bring your knee to your nose at the same time as you bring your shoulders forward over your hands. Push your upper back up to the sky and pull that knee even further into your chest.
  5. Reach your right leg back up in the air as you shift your hips back to down dog.
  6. Do three times. Then switch sides.
  7. As you find the movement easier, try moving with your breath. Breath in as you lift your left leg up, exhale as you bring your knee to nose and move forward. Inhale as you move back, exhale as you move forward.