Tammy’s At-Home Quarantined Crunchless Core Workout

With everyone stuck at home and all the gyms closed, we need a good core workout more than ever! Go on a walk, job or bike ride and then come home and do this quick Total Core Workout from our Fitness Editor, Tammy Juco.

This week, our Marketing Director, Heather Zachariah, challenged me to come up with a effective ab routine that was essentially “crunchless” and could be done in (and here’s the real challenge)…5 minutes. “I know I need to work out my core,” Heather admitted, “but it’s the part of my workout that I hate the most. And, when I asked my friends what part of their workout they hated the most, they all agreed and said “abs!'” She promised me that if I could come up with a routine that only takes 5 minutes, she’d incorporate it into her workout.

Never one to back down from a challenge, I’ve come up with 6 exercises that target ALL areas of the core: front, sides, back, upper, lower and well, much more. This routine is (almost) completely crunchless and can be done in 5 minutes… or longer.

Plank Pose 1

The Plank. See those abs? That’s what Heather is working up to!

About the Plank
The Plank is one of the most effective core exercises out there because it requires ALL your abdominal muscles to work together to support (your body), stabilize (your body), movewhile breathing.

This and any variation will fire all the neurons signaling for the entire core to kick in and work together. This includes the front and side ab muscles but also the deep inner muscle that wraps around like a corset and connects to your lower back muscles, your ribs and your pelvic area – See where I am going with this? As opposed to doing crunches that can wreak havoc on your neck and only target the upper, outer abs.

Proper technique is KEY!! Even if you can only maintain the plank position for a few reps, you will benefit much from that small amount than improper form which can hurt your lower back.

Anatomy of a proper plank

The Low Plank

About the Low Plank
A Low Plank is done on your forearms, palms flat and relaxed, elbows under your shoulders and shoulders AWAY from your ears. Think of putting your shoulder blades into your back pockets. Your form a straight “plank” from head to heel or head to knees for an easier option. No sagging hips or bums in the air. It’s important to keep your face relaxed, abs engaged, gluten, and legs engaged as well and of course, BREATHE!

First, Choose Your Level:
• Beginners: 
Consider doing all planks from your knees and working up to your toes. Aim for 10-15 reps of each move and build up to 20 reps
• Intermediate: Do all exercises from you toes. Aim for 15-20 reps
• Advanced: All exercises from your toes. Aim for 20 reps and repeat entire circuit 2X

Now, Start Your Routine!

  1. Low Plank with Knee “Dips.” Just barely touch your knees and straighten. Keep the rest of your body as still as possible.
  2. High Plank with alternating swim arms (like the front crawl): Put hands under your shoulders, elbows soft – not locked. The only thing moving are your arms so keep those hips STILL.
  3. Low Plank Hip Dips: Roll hips to the right and touch right hip to floor then over to the left hip and repeat. Keep your shoulders, chest and legs as still as possible only pivoting through your toes.
  4. High Plank Knee Slides:  Bring your right knee to right elbow, pause, slide knee down and forward to right wrist, pause and then quick “crunch” knee back up to elbow and return foot. Repeat on other side.
  5. Side Planks:  Lying on your Right side, place your right forearm so your elbow is under your right shoulder as in a low plank. Stack your shoulders, hips and press through the side of your feet to lift your hips as high as you can towards the ceiling. Your feet can be stacked on top of each other or staggered. For an easier option, bend at the knees and press up from the knees. Hold hip high for 20-30 seconds OR move the top leg forward, up and back (keep body STILL).
  6. Animal Crouch:  On hands and knees pull knees 1-2 inches from floor (now you are on your toes) but keep your bum low. Hold this for 20-30seconds OR touch opposite hand to toe OR reach opposite hand and foot straight out and return OR combine the reach out and toe touch.

Originally posted 2017

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."