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Living well: The Plank Row

Sophomore Kim Ip working it out with her great plank form! (Bridget Stagnitto)

When I recall the ways in which I used to view weight loss and fitness, I can only laugh at myself. I knew the results I wanted, but I did not account for the time it would to take reach said results, nor the degree of (continuous) dedication my goals required. I also thought of physical activity and exercise as laborious chores, something bothersome, something undesirable and annoying.

These weekly tips are not intended to foster or fuel the same notions I once held, but to build your exercise repertoire and improve the way we might currently see exercise. At times, these moves may seem tough, but – more often than not – preparing yourself to do the actual exercises is the most difficult part of the entire process. Once you get started, the rest of it comes much easier!

Begin in a plank position (body positioned as if you were about to perform a push-up). Your abs should be held tightly and the rest of your body  should be held taut in a straight line, minding your hips so they do not droop.

Modifying the work out: Use a 5 lb. weight (or whatever weight you are currently most comfortable with), hold it in your right hand.

Still in the plank position, begin to pull/lift your right elbow up towards your body, stopping at an equal level to your torso in a rowing motion.

Next, extend your right arm and lower the weight held in your right hand until the weight lightly touches the floor.

Perform 10-12 reps, then switch to the other side.

Modifying the work out: this exercise not only works to tone your abs and back; it also helps to build your core strength.

To increase the difficulty of the exercise (once you are comfortable with it as previously described), you may add the use of a medicine ball. The hand placed on the ground (without the weight) will rest on the medicine ball; the objective is to keep your balance straight and your body level as you work with your hand atop the medicine ball.

Important tip! Focus on the rowing movement of your arm, while trying to keep the rest of your body still. And don’t forget to breathe! Take any rests that you need to. Be careful and listen to what your body tells you.