Detoxes and resets are all the rage these days. Everyone is promising a secret and never-before-heard solution that can instantly take you from flabby to fit. The sad truth is that the only thing that's going to be lighter after partaking in these quick fixes is your wallet. What is a well-meaning, secret-searching, possibly not-yet-in-love-with-the-gym-person to do? Aside from not falling for the quick (expensive) fix, what you have to do is start planking.
Why should you be planking above all else? According to Toronto-based personal trainer Nathane Jackson, CSCS: "The plank is extremely important for both beginners and more experienced lifters because it teaches body awareness and creates stability required for all exercises, not just the big lifts." That's right — it doesn't matter if you're running, doing yoga, lifting weights, sitting at a computer or finding the best deals at an outlet mall all day; if you're not planking, and enjoying the many benefits of doing them, you're not going to be your best.
If you start now, you'll be resetting your fitness because no other form of activity (lifting weights, running, playing sports, or doing yoga) can harness and progressively improve core strength, stability, and mobility like simply planking every day. "The plank, when taught and performed correctly, teaches us how to maintain spinal alignment," says Jackson, "which is necessary for every lift ranging from deadlifts and squats to rollouts."
Before you drop to the floor and do what you think is a plank, we asked Atlanta-based personal trainer Kendall Wood, NASM CPT, and author of Core Fitness Solution, for his step-by-step advice on how to do it right.