Two Essential Exercises That Workout Everything

With Zumba-robics, yo-pilates, and meditation weight-lift, the options for workouts are incredible—and confusing. How do you do it? What muscles am I working?

There’s actually an alternative to classes and high cost. If you want a full muscle workout, for free, there are two that will fill your bill. Planks and Push-ups.

UGH! These Exercises Are So Annoying!

Don’t complain. Just reap the rewards! Inarguably, the two best exercises that work all large-muscle groups and core are planks and push-ups. They look so simple, but they are not in practice. They use complex groups of muscles and require extreme determination and focus.

But that’s part of why they are so transformative!

Pushing Forward

Push-ups, done correctly, strengthen major muscle groups in your arms, back, and core. Aside from nicely toning your shoulders, push-ups invigorate and strengthen your elbows and wrists. You can do them with your legs straight back or with legs bent up while you rest on your knees.

In either position, remember to keep your back flat and your rear-end low. This will engage your core muscles, which in turn strengthens your abdominals. Probably the most beneficial aspect of push-ups is that it is a weight-bearing exercise.

As we age, it’s imperative that we embark on weight-bearing types of exercises to keep our bones strong. As our balancing abilities decrease, we’re more prone to falling or tripping. It’s the falls that can break bones when they are brittle and/or fragile. Practicing push-ups, even just a few each day, can decrease your risk of injury as your body matures.

Walking the Plank

Try not to see practicing planks as a punishment from pirates. It’s actually an exercise gift to your entire muscular system. The most beneficial aspect of doing planks is that they promote a stronger core.

We want a strong core for several reasons (besides just looking good in tight clothing or a bathing suit.) Your abdominal muscles help you support your spine. Core strength allows you to maintain proper posture comfortably, without slouching. It also lends to more fluid movement and flexibility.

People who plank tend to have less back, shoulder, and neck pain.

Whether you plank with your hands on the ground and your arms straight, or you’re on your elbows, or you’re on your side, you will be toning your arms and legs. When your back is flat, and you’re in the proper plank position, you are also working your gluteus maximus (your butt muscles.)

Pushing and Planking

Both exercises increase your heart rate. Working several muscles simultaneously will increase your metabolism and may get you to break a sweat. These are designed as strength-training exercises that should not cause any injury to your body.

Additionally, they will keep you fit, strong, and help promote weight loss (from your raised basic metabolic rate.) You’ll burn more calories than doing traditional sit-ups and still get tight abs. Get pushing and planking—but no need to overdo it. A set or two a couple of times a day, and you’ll see and feel terrific results.

Check out GetThrive.com for other fitness and health tips for you and your family.

Sources:

http://www.curejoy.com/content/benefits-of-doing-planks/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18811/5-reasons-to-do-push-ups-everyday.html