Two good ways to get started

Published 8:05 pm Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chris Lovelette, fitness director at Anytime Fitness on Corporate Lane, demonstrates how to perform a plank.

“Lunges” and “planks” are two of the many exercises that one can do to start toning up.

The Lunge

This exercise works the lower body, including the hamstrings, gluteus muscles, and quadriceps. It increases the overall stability of the ankles, knees and hips, and incorporates core strength.

Rodney Sanders, owner of GODHAP 4 Fitness, demonstrates how to perform a lunge.

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1 – Start with your feet together, shoulder width apart

2 – Put your hands on your hips. Keep your shoulders back.

3 – Take a step forward, placing your weight on the heel of your front foot and the ball of your back foot.

4 – Bend the knees in a downward movement to lower the body toward the floor. You should create a 90-degree angle with your front leg. Don’t let the knee pass the toe of your front foot. Hold this stance for 15-20 seconds per leg.

5 – Return to your starting point. Complete three sets of lunges per leg during each session, twice a week.

The Plank

This exercise works the core, strengthening the abdominal muscles, obliques and lower back. This exercise can increase core strength and stability.

1 – Lie face down on the ground, resting on your forearms with your legs straight out and your toes positioned as if you were going to complete a push up. Make sure that your arms are underneath your chest so that when you reach the upper position your weight is supported correctly. When you are in the upper position your elbows should be underneath your shoulders, not in front of your shoulders.

2 – Push up from the floor, supporting your weight on your toes and elbows.

3 – Make sure your body is positioned in a straight line from your neck all the way to your heels through your spine.

4 – Draw in your belly button and abdominal muscles, tilting your pelvis so that your body is not sagging to the floor and your rear is not sticking up in the air.

5 – Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

6 – Return to your starting point

7 – Repeat 3 times per session every other day.

—Exercises courtesy of Chris Lovelette