If you are a fitness enthusiasm, you probably heard that crunches shouldn’t make up the bulk of your ab work. This no doubt shock so many of us because most of us have been doing crunches for many years.
But what ab exercise can get you to your dreamed abs? One of the more popular methods is the old-fashioned plank.
The plank is far more functional exercise than crunches, plus planks are generally safer for supporting the spine
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But most important the method works: according on a 2011 study in medicine & science in sports & exercise showed that elbow planks were more than twice as effective at core and spine activation than traditional crunches.
When you think about it, you probably spend the majority of your time sitting. you sit in your car, you sit at the table, you sit in front of a computer or your TV. etc… Why would you want to reinforce your abs in a crunched position?
Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean not to do crunches at all. you can still incorporate that move in the mix but that shouldn’t be the bulk of your abs routine if you want fundamental strength gains , balanced and developed physique.
Planks exercises work the abs the way it is naturally suppose to function which is in a isometric contraction
They work with the stability of the core muscles and perform a proper alignment of the spine and support a proper posture. If plank doing correctly they provoke scapular retraction, and activate the transverse abdominus, glutes and quads.
Now I know most of you must think planks are boring . A lot of people underrated the plank and think you cannot get a ‘six-pack’ with that movement. But the truth is must of people don’t perform it correctly or don’t know how to incorporate variations to make it more interesting and challenging.
This is why a came up with variations of plank exercises to spice it up and make it more effective and fun.
But first it is important to master the basic front plank
before moving on to more advanced variations because it is the fundamental cue that will make all planks variations effectives and safe for your lower back.
Start off in a plank position propped on your forearms , elbows in line with shoulders, and your toes planted firmly. Your spine should be neutral without an arched back either up or down. Be careful also not to shrug your shoulders to your ears and keep your head neutral. Resist the urge to crane your neck up or let our head down.
Now that you manage a basic front plank you can start advanced planks exercises with accessories and variations movements.
The BOSU ball is a great accessory to incorporate in a plank exercise
cause pretty much any gym in existence has some available or if you train at home it’s easy not find and affordable. Plus, adding an unstable surface to your plank is one of the most challenging variation you can execute.
All this being said, let’s
Learn these bosu ball plank variations to get your dreamed abs
1. Skip the BOSU and place your forearms on the flat surface, keep balance ! All the cues of the basic plank now applies: straight line head to ankles and keep shoulders down and hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
If that is not challenging enough cut back to one leg. Try to keep that position for 30 seconds than switch leg. You can perform the same thing by lifting one hand in front.
By lifting one foot or one hand, your body has to work harder to keep stability and resist rotational force.
If you are comfortable with the variations above, you can add knee raises
2. You start in a plank position(1) with BOSU facing down again, while holding the plank, pull your right knee to your chest and hold there for 2 or 3 seconds . Return to basic position and switch leg for one complete rep( 2-3 seconds). Perform 10-20 reps all together.
If you want extra challenge, add a twist!
3. Start in the plank position, pull your right knee toward your left elbow hold of 2 seconds than repeat on the other side . Perform 10-20 reps all together .
Now let’s learn a new variation on the other side of the BOSU ball.
4. Start in the plank position on your elbow shoulder-width apart in the center of the BOSU. Begin by pushing up into you left arm and coming into your left hand and then following with the right. You should now be in a fully extended plank on your hands (push-up position) .
Then come back down onto the left elbow, following with the right. Repeat this for one minute, leading with your left arms. Than repeat for one minute more by leading with your right arm.
Have a good workout!