Welcome to the hardest 3 minutes of your workout.

By Mary Anderson
April 16, 2020

Having strong arms is like wearing your fitness on your sleeveless.

“Sculpted muscles are one of the many positive results of getting fit and feeling good in your own skin,” says Erica Lugo, The Biggest Loser trainer who shed 160 pounds by developing a gym habit. (Read her full transformation story here.) “You can build muscle where you want," she says. "It’s all about consistency.”

Lugo’s move here is a “burnout” superset for arm muscles and a strengthener for your core and chest. You’ll begin and end in plank for this multiphase rep, starting with a military plank or up-down plank—that is, high plank to forearm plank and back—then tapping your hand to the opposite leg (in plank) and finishing with a push-up.

The best way to do this move? Setting a time and cranking out as many reps as possible. Repeating three times makes this the perfect 3-minute workout burnout. (Want more? Try the 30-Day Plank Challenge with Kira Stokes.)

“Going to failure is a great way to build up muscle endurance,” says Lugo. “When I was on my weight-loss journey, I loved celebrating how far along I’d come in four weeks with a move.”

Get started with these form tips:

  • For solid plank form, draw your navel to spine so your belly doesn’t droop, and keep your booty level with your body.
  • Make sure your hands are directly below your shoulders, and keep elbows close during your push-up to focus on triceps.
  • During the plank up-downs and opposite hand taps, try to keep hips from swinging side to side.

“This move will not only get your heart pumping but also test your core stability, flexibility, and upper-body strength all at once,” she says. Go for it.

Super Plank Series

A. Start in a high plank with feet wider than hip-width.

B. Lower onto the right elbow, then onto the left elbow, to come into a low plank.

C. Press into the right hand, then press into the left hand to return to high plank.

D. Keeping back flat and legs straight, shift hips up and back to tap right hand to left shin. Return to plank. Repeat, reaching left hand to right shin, then return to plank.

E. Repeat once more on each side, tapping knees or thighs instead of shins.

F. Do one push-up, bending elbows back at 45-degrees to lower chest toward the floor.

Repeat for 45 seconds, alternating which hand starts. Rest fo 15 seconds. Repeat three times total.

Shape Magazine, May 2020 Issue