Victoria’s Secret models and best friends in fitness Jasmine Tookes and Josephine Skriver know how to have fun at the gym. The pair gathers their favorite exercise moves into a joint Instagram account that’s gifted us with everything from butt workouts to abs exercises.
Most recently, the models shared a video of a move they’ve nicknamed the plank dance. Tookes and Skriver each start in a forearm plank, then do some arm choreography to challenge their cores. They captioned the video with a quick explanation of the move: “Works core but pretty much the whole body! Do it for 1 min x3.”
Check out the plank dance move via @joja, below:
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The plank dance helps build strength and stability in your core.
For a more detailed explanation of why this core move is so effective, we spoke with Kelvin Gary, certified personal trainer and owner and head coach at Body Space Fitness in New York City. According to Gary, this move works the abs, obliques, shoulders, and posterior core (aka spine-stabilizing muscles). It will help you improve your core stability, which is basically just your ability to keep your core engaged and in the right position during movement. Core stability is important for helping you execute pretty much every exercise move with proper form (and ultimately, help you avoid injury) and move about daily life comfortably and efficiently.
“Just holding a plank is great, but this move creates the need for additional stability,” says Gary. In a normal, stationary plank, our legs and feet create four points of contact with the ground. “Think of this like the four legs of a chair, very stable,” he explains. “When you remove one of those legs, you become unstable. That’s what’s happening in this move.” With each arm movement, Tookes and Skriver create additional instability.
Notice how as they lift their arms, their hips sway a bit to the opposite side. Ideally, your hips should remain in place as you move your arms and your core works to keep your body still and stable, Gary says. But it does take a ton of core strength and practice to get to the point of zero sway.
To do this move, start in a forearm plank with your elbows stacked under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart.
Squeeze your core, glutes, and quads to keep your hips stable as you reach one arm in front of you, then to the side, and then repeat with the other arm, reaching to the side first and then out in front. Most importantly, keep your arm movements as slow as possible. “The slower you go, the harder it gets,” says Gary. “A controlled movement is best.” Continue this movement, alternating arms, for one minute. Rest for about 30 seconds, and then repeat two more times (for a total of three).
If you’ve nailed this move—meaning you can keep your hips totally still throughout—and are looking to make it more challenging, Gary suggests moving from a forearm plank to a high plank (arms extended and palms flat on the floor) and bringing your feet closer together. You can also play up the instability component of the workout by lifting your opposite leg in tandem with your arm, says Gary. “Move your arms and legs together, first alternating left arm/right leg, then right arm/left leg, in a clockwise manner.” He also recommends adding an instability tool like the BOSU ball under your arms or feet to seriously challenge your balance.
However you prefer to plank dance, consider taking another cue from Tookes and Skriver and do it with your BFF. It may still be just as challenging, but having some camaraderie may help take your mind off how hard you’re working—plus, there’s no denying the choreo is highly Instagrammable.