The traditional Plank is overrated. They are OK for beginners, but Planks don't offer the most bang for your buck when it comes to core strength and endurance, especially for intermediate and advanced trainees. Let's crank it up a notch with these plank variations, which offer more value in less time.
- Start in a push-up position with a light kettlebell or dumbbell (10-25 pounds) behind one of your hands.
- Reach and grab the weight with your opposite hand and bring the weight across to the opposite side of your body.
- Set your hand down and repeat, alternating sides each time.
- The goal is to keep your hips from rotating and maintain a flat back throughout the movement.
- Place your feet on a slideboard or a pair of valslides (furniture sliders).
- Go into a plank position with your forearms on the ground, elbows under your shoulders, back flat, and glutes squeezed tight.
- Moving at the elbow, push back so your feet slide backwards while your body stays completely flat and tight.
- Once you reach end range, pull your body back to the starting position where your upper arms are perpendicular to the floor.
- Start in a push-up position with back flat, abs tight, and glutes squeezed hard.
- Drop down to a low plank position with both forearms on the ground.
- Return to the top, ending in the push-up position.
- The goal is to keep your body as still as possible and hips locked in tight, minimizing rotation as much as possible.
Plank Box Step-Up
- Start in a push-up position in front of a low box or bench.
- Reach one hand up and place it on the box, then repeat with your opposite hand.
- Return to the ground, again focusing on not rotating your hips throughout the movement and keeping your back flat.
- To progress this movement, start further away from the box or bench; the farther away you are, the tougher it will be.
- Again, start in a push-up position.
- Reach across and touch your opposite hand on both sides.
- Touch your opposite elbow on each side followed by touching each shoulder.
- Move on to each hip, knee, and eventually each foot.
- Repeat, trying not to rotate throughout the whole movement.
- Here is the pattern again: hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, toes.
So there you have it. Replace your boring old standard Plank with these variations to get more out of your time. Check out the above video to watch each exercise if you have any questions.
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