Best Total Body Exercise Learn How to Do a Plank

The ultimate exercise, targeting every muscle in the body, requiring significant core and shoulder strength and stability, the plank is a great total body activity.

Many find it difficult to hold body weight in one position, while others seem to do it flawlessly. The fact is, unless there is a foundation of strength the plank can do more harm than good.

It’s important, as with any exercise, to perform with proper technique to avoid muscle imbalances and/or injury.

Also, recognizing your limitations and adjusting your routine is so important!

Step 1: Alignment

Proper technique is all about alignment. When holding a high plank remember these key tips:

  • Wrists under elbows, elbows under shoulders, elbows are soft and not locked out.
  • Shoulders are down away from the ears.
  • Neck is in a neutral position with chin slightly tucked.
  • Tummy muscles are slightly engaged, gluteus is engaged (your butt muscles)
  • Hips should be parallel to floor (hip bones facing floor)
  • Back is straight
  • Hips should not fall toward floor, and should also not be elevated
Full, Front, Plank

Step 2: Holding the plank

The plank is an ISOMETRIC contraction (basically a hold of muscle contraction for an extended period of time).

As you begin to hold the plank, you may feel your body begin to shake. This is your muscles being challenged and letting you know they are getting fatigued (tired).

Hold as long as you can tolerate WITHOUT losing your alignment.

Step 3: Challenging the front plank

As your muscles become stronger, a simple plank may not be as challenging anymore. There are a few ways to bump up the intensity.

  • lift one leg from the floor
  • lift one leg and the opposite arm, hold
  • alternate lifting and lowering the extremities.
  • tap your toes left and right
  • roll a ball back and forth to a partner

The list could go on, but that is a good list to get you started. Check out the photos:

LIft one Leg
Opposite arm, opposite leg lift
My hips may be higher than they should be, but better higher than lower causing increased strain on my lower back.

Knowing your limitations

Always be sure to be cleared for exercise post pregnancy or any kind-of surgery. The plank is definitley an advanced exercise and knowing your limitations is vital to prevent injury. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

  • Lower back pain–if you notice pressure or pain in your back while trying to hold a full plank, STOP.
  • Shoulder pain–a decent amount of shoulder strength is required to perform a plank too, so if it hurts, don’t do it.
  • If you suffer from Diastisis Recti, the plank is not a good place to start and can actually make this worse. Check out Auburntpt_thrive on Instagram as a great resource from a Physical Therapist for postpartum and Diastisis Recti information

Alternative Planking

BONUS. If a full plank is not quite right for you yet, no worries. There are other ways to build up muscle and core stability progressing towards a full plank. This includes:

  • Wall planks–stand at the wall with your hands shoulder width apart, step back until arms are extended (but not locked out) resume a “plank” in the standing position.
  • Kneeling plank–follow all alignment tips, but instead, keep your knees on the floor. This is not a “dog” position, you should still be planked forwards and feeling it in your core, without the stress on your lower back

Want to see more planking options? Watch this video I put together->> PLANK VIDEO

Looking for a fun way to add planks to your daily routine? Check out my recent plank challenge posted in my stories on Instagram I did over the holidays.

For more exercises and workout routines be sure to follow nfergyfit on Instagram and Facebook! If you liked this information, don’t forget to give a like, make a comment and share with a friend!

Have a resolution to get fit and start exercising this year? Check out my 15 minute per day FREE Body Crush by nfergyfit program.

Visit nfergyfit on YouTube for more quick exercise routines.

Exercise Techniques, Uncategorized

5+ Exercises for the Core Using Sliders or Paper Plates

Sliders are a great addition to any home exercise program. It’s always nice to add change to your routines, not only to keep from getting bored, but also to challenge your body and muscles to avoid a plateau. (More on plateauing in a later blog post).

I have developed a routine that will target all areas of the body using just your body weight and sliders. (Paper plates can be used too if sliders are not available to you).

I bought my sliders on Amazon. I love them. They are double sided to be used either on the carpet or hard flooring. (Affiliate link: These are the ones I use). They also came in my favorite color…green!

Check out these different ways to use sliders in your workout.

1.) Push-Ups

As you can see below, I had to do these on my knees because using the sliders strongly engages the core muscles (mine just aren’t there yet).

How to:

Start in push-up position, slide the sliders outward to get down to the floor and bring them back in to push-up.

  • Make this more difficult by going into a full push-up (no knees).
  • Make easier by standing and leaning on a wall to do the push-ups.

2. Single Leg Squat with lateral Leg slide

How to: Get your balance on one leg, as you squat down, slide the opposite leg outward and pull back in as you raise up from the squat.

Be sure to keep the knee behind the toe with most weight through the heel or your standing leg. (see how to perform a squat for a better idea.)

3. Lunge

To increase the use of your hamstrings with a lunge, this is a great exercise to do with sliders.

How to: Instead of stepping backward (like a normal back lunge), slide the foot back as you squat with the front leg. Use the hamstrings and engage the core to return to standing. (It’s harder than it looks).

4. Hamstring Curl/Bridge

This is a good one for the hamstrings! I’d say this is pretty advanced.

How to: Start up in the bridge position with feet on their own slider. slowly lower the legs into a straight position, just to a slight bend. Return to the bridge by bending the knees, pulling the sliders with you.

Make this easier by keeping your butt on the floor, just sliding the legs in/out; and even easier sliding one leg at a time, without the butt lift.

5. Various core exercises with plank starting position.

There are several ways you can move your feet on sliders while holding yourself in a plank starting position. This one is easier shown, so check them out in action on the video below. You’ll see all the slider exercises listed above as well. (Don’t see the video below click here).

Well there you have it. More exercises to add to your home or gym routine. Have you tried other slider exercises and want to share? Please do so in the comments! I’m always up for more exercise ideas!

Don’t forget, secrets don’t make friends, so be sure to share the love!

Recipes, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized

How to Make Your Water Taste Better With These 4 Foods

Are you one of those people (like my husband) who just doesn’t like the “taste” of water? I never understood this, because it literally doesn’t have a taste…(eye roll).

BUT, apparently it is a thing. So, I wanted to debunk that excuse for you not getting your daily water intake in (about 50% of your body weight in water drank each day) by sharings some ways I make water drinking “taste” better.

Things to add to your water to make it taste better.

1. Lemons

This is the most obvious I’m sure. Go to a restaurant and you’re asked if you’d like a lemon with your water. Maybe YOU are the one to ask for a lemon. Have you actually put a lemon in your water?

Some fun facts about lemons:

There are some floating suggestions that lemon water may help with cleansing the body. Lemons are high in Vitamin C as well as antioxidants. The citric acid in lemons as also been associated with preventing kidney stones (healthline.com).

2. Cucumbers

Everyone’s heard of putting lemons in your water, but have you ever tried a cucumber? Crazy I know. I think the flavor is thirst quenching.

Some fun facts about cucumbers:

When eaten, they are good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3, vitamin C, folic acid, ascorbic acid, caffeic acid, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, and dietary fiber. (homeremediesforyou.com)

3. Strawberries

Add fresh strawberries as a great natural flavor to an ordinary glass of water. If you love strawberries, you may love them in your water.

Some fun facts about strawberries:

Strawberries are full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, magneseum and potassium. When eaten, they increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer (webmd.com).

4. Oranges

It’s not quite the same as sugary orange juice, but it does add a little fruity fun to your water bottle without the extra calories!

Fun facts about oranges:

Oranges are said to improve vision, enhance sexual performance, prevent cancerous cell growth, and regulating blood pressure (to name a few). (naturalfoodseries.com).

These are just a few fun additions I use in my own water. I’m sure there are other fruits and veggies that would be great as well.

I even add more than one for a combination of flavors to arouse my taste-buds.

What fun things do you add to your water? Tried it? What do you think?

Don’t be a shy, share this with another guy.

Exercise Techniques

5 Easy Tips for Doing a Squat Correctly

Squatting is a great exercise for improving glute strength. The Gluteus Maximus in the largest muscle in the body. If done incorrectly, squatting can result in injury; mainly to the lower back and knees.

Here are five key points to perform a squat correctly and prevent injury.

1.) Make sure you feet are shoulder width apart.

Be sure your feet are not too close together nor too far apart.  (Although there are other ways to perform squats to target various parts of the body, here we are reviewing a basic squat).

2.) Keep your back straight.

Keep your back so that your spine is lined up from your head to your butt. If you find that you have to bend or round your lower back, then you have squatted too far. 


3.) Your weight should be through the back half of your feet (mostly through the heels).

As you squat most of your weight should be back through the heels of your feet.  You may feel as though you will fall backwards.  When you increase the weight through the heels of your feet, you should feel your glute (butt) muscles engage.

4.) Keep your knees behind your toes.

Your knees should not go out past your toes when you are down in the squat. This increases stress in the patellas (knee caps) which, over time and repetition, can cause knee problems.

5.) Squat down as if you were going to sit into a chair.

If you practice squatting in front of a chair, you will notice how you reach your butt back towards it. When squatting freely, imagine you are reaching your bottom back towards the chair.


Below is how you should NOT look when squatting: 

Incorrect squat form

If you found this helpful be sure to share with your friends!

Your’s in Fitness & Fun,

Nicole, @nfergyfit