Tag Archives: ab workouts

How to Do a Side Plank for Flatter Abs and More

How to do a side plank for flat abs and more as demonstrated by Chicago Women’s Weight Loss Coach Stephanie Mansour and Jenny Milkowski of Fox 32.

Side Plank with Stephanie Mansour & Jenny Milkowski

Looking for an exercise that works your whole body for long, lean muscles and an overall toned look? If you want to build a strong core and flatter abs while also toning your arms, legs, back, and more, I recommend adding side planks to your workout routine.

When I create custom workout plans for my private weight loss coaching clients, I consider it part of my job to help them understand the benefits of exercise beyond developing muscle tone and burning fat. Doing side planks regularly will also help you improve your balance and concentration, which will help you prevent injuries, add to your overall conditioning, boost your performance and confidence, and reduce stress.

Here’s how to do a side plank:

For a beginner side plank…

  • Start on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and your hand flat on the ground.
  • Stack one leg on top of the other with your knees slightly bent and put the other hand on your hip.
  • Raise your hip off of the ground, keeping your legs together and bent. Squeeze your glutes, keep your abs engaged, and pull your hips upward as if by a rope from the ceiling.
  • Hold and breathe
  • Return to the starting position and repeat until you feel the burn

For a more advanced side plank…

  • Start on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and your hand flat on the ground.
  • Stack one leg on top of the other, straighten your legs and put the other hand on your hip.
  • Raise your hip off of the ground, keeping your legs together and straight. Squeeze your glutes, keep your abs engaged, and pull your hips upward as if by a rope from the ceiling.
  • Hold and breathe
  • Return to the starting position and repeat until you feel the burn

For an even more advanced side plank (as demonstrated in the video)…

  • Start on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and push up to straighten your arm so you are propping yourself up with your hand.
  • Stack one leg on top of the other, straighten your legs, and put the other hand on your hip or reach to the sky.
  • Raise your hip off of the ground, keeping your legs together and straight. Squeeze your glutes, keep your abs engaged, and pull your hips upward as if by a rope from the ceiling.
  • Raise your top leg in the air and lower
  • Hold and breathe

As you can see, there are many variations of the side plank exercise you can incorporate to challenge yourself and enhance your results. The key is to keep your abs, core, arms, back, glutes, and leg muscles engaged throughout the entire exercise.

Watch the video for a quick demonstration of how to do a side plank.

Join the FREE 21-Day Challenge with weight loss coach Stephanie Mansour for a simple but powerful workout plan, an easy-to-follow eating guide, and fun confidence-boosting exercises.

Pilates Open-Leg Rocker: Intermediate Core Strengthening Exercise for Flatter Abs

Pilates Open-Leg Rocker Exercise for Core Strength and Flat Abs Demonstrated by Chicago Women’s Weight Loss Coach Stephanie Mansour and Jenny Milkowski of Fox 32.

open leg rocker pilates

As a weight loss coach for women, I often recommend Pilates to my private weight loss coaching clients. Pilates workouts put minimal impact on the joints and the exercises, in general, are easy on the body.  

In particular, Pilates is one of the best types of exercise to build your core strength. Doing Pilates core strength exercises consistently will help you slim down, create long toned muscles, and improve your overall fitness and conditioning.

Yes, Pilates core strengthening exercises can help flatten your abs–something we all want– but it’s also important to note that core strengthening exercises help to improve your posture and overall well-being as well.

What you may not realize is having good posture and strong abs is important for good health. Standing up or sitting up straight and tucking in your tummy is not just something to do to make you appear more confident and attractive–lengthening your spine and engaging your deep ab muscles is good for your spine health, helps you to avoid injuries and alleviate chronic pain, improves blood flow and oxygen, and protects your organs.

When doing Pilates exercises, be sure to concentrate on your breath as well as slow and controlled movements.

The Step It Up With Steph Signature Slimdown DVD includes a quick core-strengthening Pilates workout!

I teamed up with my favorite workout and Pilates partner, Jenny Milkowski, to demonstrate an intermediate Pilates core-strengthening exercise — the open-leg rocker. Watch the video below:

Here’s how to do the Pilates open-leg rocker:

  • Begin by sitting up tall on our sit bones, spine lengthened, abs activated.
  • Bend your knees and grab your ankles.
  • Next, balance your body between your tailbone and sit bones.
  • Lift and extend one leg and then the other, shoulder-width apart, by engaging your abdominals.
  • Inhale and roll back onto your shoulders, maintaining a c-curve in your back and keeping your head and neck elevated off the mat. Be sure to engage your abs to propel the movement.
  • Pause and hold briefly.
  • Exhale and bring your body back to an upright balanced position. Maintain the curve in your back and use your ab muscles to activate the movement.
  • Concentrate on your breath, engaging your core, and using slow controlled movements.
  • Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.

Keep in mind, the Pilates open-leg rocker is an intermediate core-strengthening exercise. For a quick easy-to-follow Pilates routine, grab a copy of the Step It Up with Steph Signature Slimdown DVD.