Planks are probably one of the best exercise moves for your abs. It’s a simple posture, but it can really challenge your body. And to give you abs an even greater workout, here are five killer plank variations that will push you to your limit, and ultimately give you abs you love. 

Planks are a standard move in a wide variety of fitness routines, including yoga. And if you ask Chelsea Scott, yoga instructor and manager of the aptly-named, CorePower Yoga studio, she’ll tell you that “plank workouts are an efficient way to hit all your muscle groups, and you can layer in added movements to specifically target areas you want to strengthen.”

So, if you’re looking for an exercise that tones your abs, while also engaging your entire body, Scott has five plank variations that should do the trick.

Each position begins in plank position, with elbows planted on the ground, directly below your shoulders.

Forearm Rock Forward and Back

In plank position, keep your core stable while you shift your body forward and backward, all while keeping your elbows and feet exactly where they are.

Forearm Knee Tap

Focus on zipping in your abs as you bend the left knee until it just hovers above the ground – don’t let it touch the ground. They return the left leg to it’s original position, and repeat on the other leg.

Forearm Hip Dip

Squeezing your abs and gluts, dip your left hips to the left side until they’re about an inch above the ground. Return to center and repeat on the other side.

Forearm Heel lift

Starting in plank position, lift one leg up above the height of your shoulders, flexing your foot while you do so. Return to plank and repeat with other leg. Scott says it helps to engage the obliques to prevent your torso from twisting and to get a better ab workout.

Forearm Plank Jack

Beginning in plank, engage your abs and jump both feet out to each side to form a wide V. Return to starting position and repeat.

We focus a lot on self-care during the winter time, and boy do we need it! How else could we survive those long dark, cold months? But once summer arrives, we tend to let self-care slide because it’s just so much easier to enjoy ourselves in the summer. But it’s important to take extra good care of yourself when the sun is smiling, too. Here are six easy ways to do that.

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Here in the West, we tend to take yoga, dice it up and put it into neat little boxes. For example, we have heart-opening yoga poses, yoga for weight loss, yoga for abs, yoga for PMS, etc. 

It’s true that yoga poses can focus on specific regions of the body, but yoga poses are actually all about the mind-body-spirit connection. These heart-opening poses are proof! They support the upper body and open the chest area, and they open us up to more love, compassion and vulnerability.  No matter where you are in your yoga practice, you can find at least one heart-opening pose to both open your physical and emotional body to more love. 

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