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MATT ROBERTS: If you’ve mastered the traditional plank then try the ‘plank and swim’ instead

Try this with MATT ROBERTS: If you’ve mastered the traditional plank then it’s time for you to move on to the ‘plank and swim’

Mastered the traditional plank? Time to move on to the ‘plank and swim’ – a more sophisticated version which tones not only the core abdominal muscles, but also the obliques and upper arms, attacking two much-hated areas: muffin tops and bingo wings.

Constantly changing the position of the arms adds extra pressure to every muscle group, meaning the body must ‘adapt’ to its new position. This adaptation is key for achieving a visible increase in muscle definition in the arms and abs.

The key is to keep the abdominals engaged, pulling your belly button in towards your spine.

Follow these simple steps to get yourself into the swing of the ‘plank and swim’ (pictured). For a full four-step guide, please see below

  • First get into the plank position. Lie on your front with your fists clasped and in line with your forehead. Keep elbows pushed into your sides by your ribs, legs straight and your toes tucked under.
  • Push your bodyweight up so that it is resting on your forearms and feet, parallel to the floor. Check that your bottom isn’t poking upwards or your back dipping inwards. Keep abdominal muscles engaged.
  • From this plank position, reach one arm in front of you in a front-crawl-style motion, as you would in the water. Then place it back down. Do not let your pelvis and body ‘roll’ sideways.
  • Alternate arms and repeat for as many reps as you can before losing stability. Aim for at least ten.

Health Hacks: Use paper towels – they beat bugs better than air dryers     

Air hand-dryers aren’t as hygienic as you think; paper towels are far superior, according to new scientific studies. 

Contrary to popular belief, paper towels kill more bacteria than a blast of hot air from an electric dryer. 

The researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota said that the friction of rubbing hands on the towel traps and destroys microscopic bugs more efficiently than air drying. 

They concluded: ‘Paper towels should be recommended for use in locations in which hygiene is paramount, such as hospitals.’