Just COREgeous: Perfect plank & crunch combo

Want to get COREgeous with a workout that tones, defines, and even challenges your mind? If you answered yes ... then let’s do this!

In previous blogs I discussed the importance of performing the plank and crunch exercises with proper form. If you happened to miss those two blogs, simply click on the links to learn more.



Your midsection plays a critical part to nearly all movements. The core initiates power movements while the extremities work in coordination or to advance the movement from the core base. Therefore, it is imperative to develop strength proximally (torso/ core region) to be strong distally (arms/ legs).


Performing these exercises on your Total Gym will challenge your core muscles from different angles while being able to adapt to your own strength depending on the incline you choose and the direction your body is positioned. Depending on the exercise and what direction you are positioned will determine the difficulty of the exercise.

For instance, by performing a couch facing away from the tower using a high incline will put less stain on your back and make it easier to lift your upper body to complete the sit-up. While using a lower incline will make it more challenging for your core.


Before we get into the workout details, let’s quickly review how to perform a plank and a crunch with proper form on your Total Gym.


Choose an appropriate incline for your strength level. (Higher is easier, lower is harder.)

1. Lie supine on the glide board with your head closest to the tower. Position feet hip-width distance apart with knees bent.
2. Place hands behind head/ head for neck support with elbows open to the sides.
3. Slightly tuck chin to keep the natural curvature of your spine and maintain a small space between the chin and chest.
4. Draw in your abdominals and imprint the lower back. Inhale to prepare, exhale as you curl the upper torso (head, neck, shoulder blades) off the surface.
5. Hold the lifted position for a moment, then lower halfway down while keeping the imprint of the spine and the upper torso off the ground.

NOTE: Avoid arching or creating a gap in the spine between each rep.


Choose an appropriate incline for your strength level. (Higher is easier, lower is harder.)

1. Assume a quadruped position with hands directly underneath your shoulders and your hips directly on top of your knees.
2. Keep your neck elongated and your nose in line with your middle fingers.
3. Draw your navel up and in towards your spine to engage the core.
4. Tuck your toes under and hover the knees off of the floor.
5. Extend the legs straight, while still keeping your nose inline with the middle fingers.
6. Hold the straight arm plank while keeping the torso extended long from your head to your heels.

NOTE: Avoid arching or piking the lower spine!

Now that you have your core and plank form perfected, this workout will be a breeze... or have you just blown away with the results you can obtain! Now let’s put these two exercises together for a challenging core routine.


Plank up and crunch out your workout with solid core movements that chisel and define your midsection. This workout combines a variety of core focused exercises that simultaneously work the entire body. Therefore, you will get the most bang for your workout time.

Stay focused on executing good form in every exercise. If you start to fatigue, take a short break and then get back at it.


• Start with dynamic movements to warm-up your muscles and prepare your core for the workout. (3-5 minutes)
• Execute the workout in circuit format (10 reps/ exercise)
• Repeat 2 sets and then finish with the plank finishers.


• Perform each exercise for 1 minute.
• Repeat 2 sets, then move on to the core circuit.
• Face tower
• Low incline

1. Forearm plank crawl
2. Rainbows
REPEAT 2 sets


1. Superman plank-ups (forearms or straight arms)
2. Crunch up / hips up
3. Straight leg lowers
4. Roll up toe touch (bent knee)
REPEAT 2 sets then…


(face away from tower)

5. Knee tucks (hover)
6. Alternate side knee tucks (alternate right & left)
7. Oblique pike ups

(face tower)

8. Down-down / Up-up
REPEAT 2 sets then...


Take a few minutes to wrap up your core workout with a few stretches to lengthen the muscles worked and prepare you for your next workout!

Be sure to check out the video to see a demonstration of how this workout is performed.

Get COREgeous with your core workouts by focusing on proper form to challenge your muscles.


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

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