In Part 1 I introduced you to the invaluable benefits of planking and how this seemingly static and potentially uninteresting exercise has a fantastic array of variations and possibilities. Here we continue to look at them…
Forearm Plank Jacks
This plank is the horizontal take on a jumping jack. From your forearm plank position, jump both feet out wider than hip width apart, then jump them back together. Maintain a flat back keeping your hips down and core engaged. You can jump out and in as quickly as you’d like, as long as you stay in proper form.
You already work your shoulders in a plank, but this is a way to kick it up a notch. From your forearm plank, shift your weight back, moving your hips up towards the sky in a “v” position. Slowly return back to a flat plank. The movement in this plank variation should be slow and controlled to allow the abs and the shoulders to work safely.
High Plank Hold
Switching gears to a high plank, or straight arm plank, where your hands will line up directly below your shoulders (where your elbows were in the forearm plank). Everything else is the same; make sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels and your abs are contracted tightly towards your spine.
This plank variation incorporate both the high plank and the low (forearm) plank and gives extra work to your shoulders, triceps, chest and core. Keeping your hips from rotating & weight from shifting as much as possible, move from a high plank position down to a low plank by placing your elbows directly where your hands were. Then come back up to a high plank position by putting your hands where your elbows are now placed.
Alternate through both planks, noting the importance of watching your hand and elbow placement – resist the urge to move your hands / elbows out in front of your head, but instead keep them right below your shoulders.
High Plank with Arm & Leg Raises
This variation is great for increased balance, shoulder, back, glute and, of course, core strength. From a high plank position, raise your right arm straight in front of you while raising your left leg off the ground as well (opposite limbs remain on the floor to keep you balanced). Hold for just long enough to know you have maintained your balance, then lower your arm and leg and repeat on the other side.
This variation should be done slowly with good control. Note: if you’re having trouble balancing, try moving your feet to a wider stance for better stabilization.
This plank makes you work in so many ways. From a high plank position, walk your right hand and right foot to the right one step. Then step your left hand and left foot close to meet them. Then move to your left, walking your left hand and left foot at the same time (to the left) and follow suit with your right hand and foot. You can move one step at a time or do a few ‘walking planks’ in one direction and the same amount back.
Keep your hips low and in flat plank position!
In the concluding Part 3 I will take you through the remaining super toning and strengthening plan exercises!
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Maggie Binkley