In Exercise/ Fitness/ Lifestyle

Plank Variations

Hello my beautiful people! 🙂 I hope your week is going fantastic so far, and if it needs a little bit of a push I hope today’s Workout Wednesday’s segment will help to spice it up 🙂

I remember as a child being forced to do planks and hating it! In gym class, swimming class and soccer practices. I never understood the importance of planks. Maybe it was because I always saw them as a form of punishment given to me by my coaches when myself or my teammates misbehaved. Any who, as I became older and more wiser I started to understand and appreciate the benefits of core strengthening through planks. Our core muscles are very important for our body’s stabilization and balance. 

Ito engage and incorporate more core exercises and really focusing on plank work when I started getting chronic back pain. When I ended my competitive swimming career at the age of 18, due to the repetitive hypertension motions, I really started to reap the effects the sport had on my back. Strengthening my core muscles had really helped put less stress and pressure on my lower back muscles. Plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of your abdominal muscles, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain.

Plank exercises also have many other benefits such as:

  • Increased Flexibility: Planks also increase flexibility in your posterior muscle groups. The muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, and shoulder blades will expand and stretch (an area that often receives little attention), as will your hamstrings and even the arches of your feet and your toes.
  • Improved Mood: Typically any exercise you do will help to improve your overall mood state. Planks help to stretch and relax common muscles that tend to tighten up easily when stressed.
  • Improved Balance and Posture: Planks work all the muscles you need to maintain proper posture, like your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck.
  • Tones Belly (aka 6 Pack abs!): Contracting your core muscles when you perform plank exercises help to build and strengthen your deep inner core muscle that help to lay the groundwork for your “six-pack”. When your abdominal muscles become stronger your core muscles will begin to tighten.

Alright now that we understand the benefits and exciting facts about planks lets follow along and perform a quick plank workout!

Are you ready? Lets Go! 🙂

 

1. Dynamic Plank 

Begin the exercise in a plank position on the ground.Your arms should form a 90-degree angle at the elbow.  Your forearms support your upper body, while your toes support your your lower body.

Make sure your forearms and feet are about shoulder-width apart, your body is forming a straight line from your ankles to the back of your head.

Slowly put your hands on the ground, one at a time, until you are in a push-up position. Your arms should be straight. Hold position for 2 seconds, and then slowly lower yourself back down, placing one forearm at a time on the ground.

 

 

2. Plank With Pike 

Start in a plank position, resting on your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Aim to make a straight line with your body; keep your back straight at all times.

Tighten your core and glutes and drive your hips toward the ceiling as high as possible. Pause for a moment at the apex and then lower yourself back into a plank.

3. Side Plank

Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder.

Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet.

Extend your opposite arm straight up towards the sky.

Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side.

NOTE** The image to the right is a modification for those who cannot perform it correctly on an fully extended arm.

4. Balance and Reach Plank

Start in a standard plank position, holding your body in a straight line supported by your forearms and toes

While maintaining the plank position with the rest of your body, slowly lift and extend one arm and the opposite leg. Hold them in the raised position for five seconds (or less depending on how hard you’re finding it), then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Make sure you raise your limbs until they are parallel to the ground and also that your body is balanced – you don’t want to be listing to one side.

NOTE** The image to the right is a modification for those who cannot perform it correctly with proper balance.

 

5. Reverse Plank

Start by putting your hands on the ground palms down just behind and outside your hips. Then push up and lift your body until it forms a straight line from head to toe.

Keep your arms and legs straight and brace your abs. Just as with every type of plank, don’t let yourself droop. If you can’t hold the position for 30 seconds, try supporting yourself on your forearms rather than with straight arms at first. A saggy plank is of no benefit at all.

 

6. Spider Lunge

Begin in hand plank position or starting push-up position.

While breathing out, take your right foot and bring it up next to your right hand while keeping the rest of your body in the same position.

After a moment, breath in and return the right foot back to the starting position.

Repeat the same motion with the left side.

7. Twisty Side Plank

Lie on right side with elbow on floor under shoulder, hips stacked.

Push hips up, forming straight line from head to heels; extend left arm above shoulder.

Bring left arm under body, rotating upper body to the right.

Hold for 1 count; return to start.

 

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