The plank - great for dancer's bodies

by CAITLIN BUCK, Feis America Magazine contributor

Now that Oireachtas season is over, we can relax a little. But that doesn’t mean you should take a break from all sorts of exercise. Here are a few of our favorite ab workouts to keep that Irish dancing body in shape during the holiday hiatus.

1) The Plank

Get into a push up (or half push up) position and squeeze your core and bum as tight as you can. Look at the floor beneath you as you do the plank and concentrate on keeping your body in an absolute straight line. Envision something super straight for inspiration while you do this a No. 2 pencil. In the words of Miss Congeniality: “Think the pencil, be the are the pencil.” Start by holding the plank 15 or 30 seconds then increase with 5 seconds every time you do the exercise.

2) Rotated Plank

Go into the push up (or half push up) position, and then rotate your hips slowly side to side. Rotate to the left contracting your core tightly as if someone had just sharply elbowed you in the stomach. Return to the middle to take a breath then repeat on the right. 15 rotations make up one set.

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3) Sit Up
Stretch out on the floor with your arms above your head. Breathe in. Let your stomach expand with air. As you breathe out, tighten your core. Then slowly sit up. Breathe in and as you exhale, lower yourself back onto the floor vertebrae by vertebrae. Arch your back a tad once youʼve returned to the floor to stretch the stomach muscles before you commence exercising again. 10 makes a set.

4) Core Pulses
An easy exercise to do while you brush your hair etc. is to stand tall and contract your stomach muscles like someone is repeatedly and rhythmically punching you in the stomach. Breathe out with each core contraction. 15 makes a set.

5) Rowboat
Stand tall and imagine you have a paddle in your hands. Slowly rotate your upper body to the left and dig that “paddle” into the water, tightening your abs so hard it forces you to breathe from your stomach. Return to the center. Then rotate to the right and repeat. 15 makes a set.

What’s your favorite core exercise? Share in the comments below.

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