Australian trainer Tim Robards explains the perfect plank

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Tim Robards is often found on the cover of a Men's Health, but he's more than just a pretty face.

As a trainer and chiropractor, he knows how to create a strong body. Which he said starts with a strong core.

"Standing shouldn't be breaking up our sitting. It should be the other way around," Robards explained.

To add insult to injury, Robards said people usually don't sit properly, which makes for an even weaker core.

"Everyone sits and they kind of tuck under and basically creates a 'c-curve,' so our chin goes forward and we round out like this and our shoulders roll forward," he said.

His solution is to perfect the plank. Which he breaks down:

"As soon as you squeeze your gluten on your body is more upright," Robards detailed. "Then when you get into the plank you want to make sure your chin is not jutting forward."

Check to make sure your ears are right above your shoulders and watch the position of your shoulder blades.

"Where your scapula come together. Sounds like something you'd want to do 'scapula kissing,'" reminded Robards.

But it's not. The scapulae are sinking in, instead of engaging. You want the neck, head, shoulders, and upper back to all be working together.

While the core concentrates on the stomach and back, the arm position is also important. Many instructors recommend using the "corkscrew" technique.

Palms make an imprint in the floor pressing down hard and elbows rotate to turn forward away from your body, so from your palm to your shoulder, your arm is tense.

Beginners should start on elbows and knees, then work up to hands and toes. The good news is you don't have to do them for long periods of time.

"You're better off doing them in 20 second stints and holding it perfectly," Robards said. "If you're starting to fatigue and collapse, come out of it."

Robards recommends aiming for 3 minutes total.

"With strong glutes, comes strong core, comes strong spine, and that creates a healthy neck," he said.
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