How to Do a Plank: 7 Plank Exercise

Plank exercise is a safe, challenging, and effective method of core conditioning. Variations of planks

Plank exercise is a safe, challenging, and effective method of core conditioning. Variations of planks are used across many fitness disciplines, including Boot Camp Regimens, Yoga, Pilates, Barre, CrossFit, and many more. The benefits of plank exercise are numerous. They not only strengthen the abs but also entire core and many other muscle groups in the upper and lower body.

BENEFITS OF PLANK EXERCISES

STRENGTHEN THE CORE AND WORK UPPER AND LOWER BODY MUSCLES.

When you perform plan exercises, you work all of the muscles that make up your core and gain all of the benefits that come with building a strong core. As if that wasn’t enough, planks also work the following muscles:

UPPER BODY

  • Trapezius.
  • Rhomboid major and minor.
  • Rotator cuff.
  • Anterior, medical and posterior delts.
  • Pectorals.
  • Triceps.
  • Biceps.

LOWER BODY

  • Quadriceps
  • Gastrocnemius (calf muscle).

PREVENT MUSCLE IMBALANCES

It’s easy to develop muscle imbalances when only performing abdominal exercises (such as sit-ups). Most people do not perform spinal and gluteal strengthening exercises to compensate for the abdominal work. Planks condition the front and back of the body simultaneously. When muscles are comparably developed on both sides of the body, the result is better posture, more spinal support, and less lower-back pain.

IMPROVE FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT

One of the best selling points for planks is their relevance when it comes to functional movement, which is essential movement to living life. Things such as squatting, bending, running, lifting, jumping, and throwing are all functional movements initiated in the core.

PROVIDE A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO CRUNCHES AND SIT-UPS

While sit-ips are an important functional movement for daily life (for example, the ability to get out of bed every morning), they are not always the best core conditioning choice for everyone.

Crunches and sit-ups only work the muscles on the front side of the core, so it’s necessary to do back strengthening exercises as well. However, planks work the entire core, as well as many other muscles in the body.

Crunches and sit-ups can place pressure on the spine through the repetitive flexion and extension of the spine, and over time, this can become an issue. If you experience any discomfort with these movements, plank training can be useful substitute.

Furthermore, crunches and sit-ups are counter intuitive for those with ruptured, bulging, or slipped discs or other spinal injuries. Planks are a much safer alternative in those cases.

And finally, crunches and sit-ups can have negative effects on posture by promoting rounded shoulders. Plan exercises promote good posture.

OFFER VERSATILE EXERCISE

The best thing about planks is that there are countless variation of the exercise, ranging from traditional and side plank variations to planks using external weights or unstable surfaces. There is a plank for every body and every fitness level. If one doesn’t work for you because of injury, body type, imbalance, or a lack of requisite strength, there are many other options. Entire workouts can be programmed around the plank.

PLANK VARIATIONS

This part includes the most basic variations of the plank, which serve as the foundation for building core strength. These planks are performed only with your own bodyweight.

The best thing about the planks featured in this part is that they require no special equipment and can be performed anywhere, (at the gym, at home, or as a travel workout).

There are many variations of these four planks, ranging from intermediate to advanced, so you won’t get bored with your core training.

Ready to put these planks into practice and build the strongest core of your life as you change the shape of your body? Get ready to feel the burn with these ten workouts that link together a series of planks. The workout range from beginner to advanced and are all around five minutes in duration.

WORKOUT 1: BEGINNER

The focus of this workout is to build up the amount of time you are able to stay in a full plank. As the 15-second holds get easier, start to increase the amount of time you are in the plank over the course of 1 minute. For example, start 15-seconds in the full plank hold, with five seconds rest and repeated three times, and then increase to 25-seconds in the full plank, with 5-seconds rest and repeated once. Continue to increase the plank hold time until you are able to hold a plank for a full minute.

WORKOUT 2: INTERMEDIATE

These variations are rep-based and add movement to the plank.

VARIATION ONE:

10 knee to chest planks, five on each leg.

10 twisted knee to chest planks.

10 mountain climber planks.

Repeat this set three times.

VARIATION TWO:

10 side plank with foot taps, ten on each leg.

5 side plank hip dips, five on each side.

10 side forearm stability ball planks, ten on each side.

Repeat this set three times.

VARIATION THREE:

10 forearm plank knee taps.

10 forearm plank hip drops, five on each side.

10 plank walks, high plank to forearm plank.

Repeat this set three times.

WORKOUT 3: ADVANCED

This advanced bodyweight workout features movement and single arm/leg balancing.

8 pulsing full planks, eight on each leg.

8 side planks with knee crunches, eight on each leg.

8 table crunch twists, eight on each leg.

8 push-up side planks, four on each side.

30-second rocking forearm plank.

8 dolphin plank push-ups.

Repeat this set three times.

WORKOUT 4: STABILITY BALL

This workout requires your stability ball, get ready for a circuit-based workout that will challenge the core.

30-second stability ball forearm plank.

15-second stability ball balancing plank.

10 stability ball knee tucks.

15-second stability ball side forearm plank, 15-second on each side.

30-seocnd stability ball reserve plank.

Repeat this set three times.

WORKOUT 5: BOSU TRAINER

You’ll work with both sides of the BOSU trainer in this rep-themed workout that will have you moving and twisting.

10 BOSU plank walks.

15-second BOSU side forearm plank.

15-second on each side.

10 knee to chests from flipped BOSU full plank, five on each leg.

10 twisted knee to chest from flipped BOSU full plank, five on each leg.

Repeat this set three times.

WORKOUT 6: MEDICINE BALL

This medicine ball workout features a conbination of static and moving planks.

8 pushing leg lift medicine ball planks, eight on each leg.

30-second medicine ball plank hold.

8 medicine ball cheetah crunches, four on each leg.

8 rolling medicine ball planks, four on each side.

Repeat this set three times.

WORKOUT 7: WEIGHTS

Perform this set of short planks with weights to strengthen the core while also toning the entire body.

12 dumbbell plank rows, twelve on each arm.

12 dumbbell tricep kickbacks, twelve on each arm.

15-seconds weighted side plank, 15-seconds on each side.

12 stability ball chest progress.

12 stability ball overhead extensions.

Repeat this set three times.

You are only as strong as your core. As a personal trainer, I make core training a foundation for all my clients. You can’t get stronger or faster or better at anything without a strong core, and the planks is my go-to move because it’s so challenging and versatile. Don’t forget to share this article about Plank Exercise!