In Parts 1 & 2 I began a detailed look at all the wonderful variations we can bring to The Plank. Here I conclude this comprehensive feature with seven more plan exercises with superb toning and strengthening properties.
Here are some more superb plank exercise variations…
High Plank Shoulder Taps
Another great variation that challenges balance and switches “on” the core even more. Begin in a high plank position, hands directly under your shoulders and your feet about hip-width apart (or wider for increased stability). Bring your right hand to tap your left shoulder, then lower it back to the ground. Repeat with the left hand to your right shoulder. You can move quickly through this variation, or keep it slow.
High Plank with Knee Pull-ins
This high plank is awesome for increased work through the lower abs, a stubborn area so many of us would like to improve. In a high plank, keep your hips level as you drive one knee straight forward towards your chest, keeping your foot hovering over the ground as you do. Return back to flat plank position and repeat on the other side. Note: as you pull your knee forward, be sure to contract your lower abdominal muscles.
You will begin this variation on your forearms, but think of ‘stacking’ your forearms so that your right elbow is under your right shoulder and your right fist crosses in front of your face to be next to your left elbow (and vice versa); this allows for easier rotation through the shoulder joint. Hold a low plank and slowly rotate your weight into your right forearm as you pivot your hips to face the left side of the room (your right elbow should remain below your right shoulder, with your right fist in front of your chest).
Your feet can either stack on top of one another or simply pivot on the floor to lie sideways. Hold for a moment and slowly rotate back to plank position facing the ground. Repeat by rotating your weight onto your left side. Be sure to keep your hips raised and level as you move from right, to middle, to left, and back.
Forearm Side Plank
This plank is simply holding the ‘side plank’ of your plank rotation (as described above). Just like a plank where you are facing the floor, the side plank should maintain a straight line from your head down to your ankles. Keeping your hips lifted is more than proper form; it also assures you are working deeply through your obliques.
Forearm Side Plank Leg Lifts
From a forearm side plank, raise your top leg straight into the air to work through your outer hip muscle and glute. Repeat as many leg lifts as you can on one side, and then hold your side plank on the other side and repeat.
Forearm Side Plank with Hip Dips
This is one exception where your hips will drop towards the floor, but in a controlled fashion. Starting in a forearm side plank, slowly lower your hip towards the floor and lift it back up to starting position. This places a lot of emphasis on your oblique and forces it to become stronger with each rep. Do as many reps, with good form, on one side and repeat on the other.
Twisting Side Plank
Think of performing a ‘crunch’ from a side plank position, because that is what this variation is. From your side forearm plank, extend your other arm straight up into the air and lower it down in front of you and into the space between your chest and the ground, performing a slight ‘crunch’ movement. Try not to move your hips and just keep the rotation above your hips. Perform reps on one side, then switch to the other.
For some killer core work that incorporates many plank variations, feel free to workout with me to my “15-Minute Core Challenge” workout on Amazon Prime.
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Maggie Binkley