How To Build a Stronger Core - With Only a Towel!

I’m currently on a production in Los Angeles for a month. Which basically means I’m on call 24/7 should anything come up with last-minute curveballs. #producerlife

Working Out While Traveling

To keep my sanity, I usually try to make it to a local yoga, pilates or spin class - but if there’s just no time, I head to the hotel gym. If you travel frequently, you know that not all hotel gyms are created equally… sometimes they’ve got old equipment; no free weights only cardio machines; or no cardio machines only hand weights, etc. So, often I need to make it up as I go along.

Today - I wanted to work more core, so I used a towel as a slider to bust out some plank-pikes.

How to Strengthen Core with Only a Towel

Plank-Pikes are Great For:

  • Building core strength (core is not just the abs: it’s the entire mid-section including front, back, sides, arms and legs. Every muscle in these areas that help stabilise the body).

  • Building wrist and arm strength.

  • Strengthening the shoulder.  

And guess what? These are the very things you’ll need to get you to a strong handstand too. These are great handstand foundational poses.

How to Plank-Pike with Only a Towel:

  1. Grab a towel.

  2. Come into a plank with towel under feet.

  3. Plank: Stack shoulders over wrists, pull navel into spine, elongate from crown to heels in one straight line.

  4. Pike: Draw hips up and over shoulders by pulling core tight and sliding feet towards wrists.

  5. Slide feet back to plank while keeping shoulders over wrists and core tight.

  6. Repeat at least 3x and work your way up to 10x.

Here’s what it looks like in video.

Note: this was done in the hotel gym so please excuse the mega-harsh fluorescent lighting… it’s nothing Insta-glam at all!

Plank-Pike Variations:

If you’re finding it difficult to stay up in a plank-pike on your hands, you can also do these variations:

  1. Forearm Plank-Pike: From a plank, go down on your elbows and forearms, interlacing your hands together. From this forearm-plank with elbows on the floor, slide feet on the towel towards your elbows to a forearm-pike. Always pull the navel to the spine to keep the front core engaged, protecting your lower back.

  2. Regular Plank: You can also hold a regular plank without sliding on the towel to the pike until you build up enough strength to start the towel sliding.

  3. Regular Plank - walk up to Pike: You can also hold a regular plank, then walk the feet towards the wrists in a pike, all the while lifting the hips up to the sky and walking them high above the shoulders. Keep pulling the navel into the spine to engage the deep abdominal muscles. Do this movement slowly and with control, so you become familiar with which parts of the body need to engage.

If you enjoyed this, you might also be interested in these previous posts:

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