Fitness fans like to call exercises by the muscle group they work the most (for example, plank is often called a "core workout" and deadlifts target the hamstrings). The truth is: No muscle group truly works in isolation. And on this week's episode of Trainer of the Month Club, Nike Trainer Tara Nicolas proves it with forearm plank extensions, a move that targets both your core and your glutes.
Forearm plank extensions are one of those exercises that have a lot of moving parts, but can start to feel rhythmic and intuitive once you've practiced.
You'll start by coming into forearm plank pose with your shoulders directly above your elbows, your tailbone tucked slightly underneath you, and your glutes engaged. To modify, go ahead and drop down to your knees (but don't lose that engagement in the glutes and core). Next, you'll step your left elbow forward and bring it back. Then, step your right elbow forward and bring it back. You'll continue alternating like this, and pretty soon you'll feel your whole body light up.
Now, sure: This move is a core workout: Forearm planks challenge your transverse abdominis (deep core stabilizer muscles that wrap around your torso like a corset), your rectus abdominis (also known as your “six pack” that assist with forward folding and backbending), and the internal and external obliques (the side muscles running up and down your abdomen that help with rotation and side bending). Plus, because you're moving your arms back and forth, you're putting all these muscles groups through extra stabilization work. Meaning, when you step your left forearm forward, your right side has to take on almost your full bodyweight. And vice versa.
However, at the same time, your glutes are also firing to keep your entire body stable. Whether you're on your knees or not, your glutes will be squeezing together to protect your lower back and stabilize your pelvis. This isometric hold will engage the teeny-tiny butt muscles—which are part of your core, too.
And lest you think Nicolas forgot about the rest of your body, consider this: Forearm plank extensions also target your shoulders, chest, and triceps. Everything is online in this workout.
But hey, don't take my word for it. Roll out your mat and enjoy Nicolas' 12-minute core workout that's really a sneaky, full-body sweat session in disguise.
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