Core stability is important for everything from balance to injury prevention—and if you're bored of your regular old planks and crunches, consider adding kick throughs to your workout routine.
According to Charlee Atkins, trainer and founder of Le Sweat, kick throughs—which are basically bear planks with an unstable rotation—are a "fantastic advanced abs exercise" for strengthening your core. But as leveled-up move, it's super important to do them correctly. Not only will proper form help to keep you injury-free, but it will also help you reap all of the exercises "fantastic" benefits Atkins mentioned. Here, she breaks down how to do a kick through, and reveals the most common mistakes that are preventing people from getting them right.
3 Mistakes people make when doing kick throughs
1. Lifting their hips too high
One of the most common mistakes Atkins sees when people do kick throughs is that they lift their hips "way too far up in the air." To keep the work targeted to your abs, think about getting into a strong bear plank position with your hips in line with your shoulders and your knees hovered slightly above the mat. "If I start out in this strong bare plank position, then all of the other exercises or parts of the exercises become a lot more stable," she says.
2. Landing in wrong the position
"The second mistake is people are typically landing in the position," Atkins says, explaining that she sees people sitting on the mat instead of engaging their core to keep their glutes raised as they kick. Whenever you kick yourself through, you should be able to just kiss the mat briefly with your glutes without actually landing them on the floor.
3. Bending their arms improperly
"I usually see a lot of people dumping into the exercise with their arms," Atkins says, meaning that they bend their arms to allow their shoulders to drop down. This, she says, takes the majority of the work out of your abs and into your upper body, which isn't what you want here. "If I'm starting from that strong bear plank position, then that means I won't dump into my shoulder so the shoulder always stays over the wrist, and I'm able to keep a strong core and a strong arms as I move from side to side," she says.
One final tip: As you kick through, be sure to press through your heel. "That way your leg stays elevated up and you know that all of the work is happening at the core," Atkins says. See her tips in action by watching the full video, above.
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