The plank is a fantastic fundamental exercise that engages your abdominal muscles, your lats, your glutes and even your adductor muscles when done properly. But do you ever find that the standard plank gets a little dull after a while? Try out these three fun plank variations to spice up your next ab workout!
1. Plank Pull Through
Grab a light weight that slides easily (a dumbbell, light sandbag, or a steel bell all work well) and begin in a plank position with the weight on the left side of the body lined up just behind the wrist. Using the right hand, reach underneath and pull the weight over to the right side, lined up just behind the right wrist.
The key point with this plank position is to not let your belly button move whatsoever. By keeping your belly button facing down towards the ground the entire time, you ensure that your hips won’t rotate to open up, taking away the pressure from the abdominal muscles. Work anywhere from 6-8 repetitions each side during a set.
2. Superman Plank
Challenge your balance with this variation! Start in a standard plank position on the hands. Make sure your wrists and shoulders are in line with each other. Your spine should be in one long line, and you should feel like you’re pulling your belly button up toward your spine to ensure that you don’t drop at your hips.
For level 1 of this exercise, start by just raising the right arm up and straight out in front of the body and holding for 1-2 seconds. Replace it back down on the ground, and then repeat with the left hand. Again, the key to this one is making sure that your belly button stays facing down the entire time.
For level 2 of this exercise, take the right arm straight up and out away from the body while simultaneously raising the left leg straight up off the ground. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds, and then replace the hand and foot back down on the ground and repeat the motion on the opposite side. Aim for 5-7 repetitions each side during a set.
3. Weighted Plank Variation
Kick your standard plank up a notch by adding a little weight to it! Grab a partner to help place the weight on your back and assist with spotting as needed.
Begin in a plank position (either on the hands or the elbows), making sure your elbows and shoulders are in alignment, your spine is nice and straight, and you’re pulling your belly button in towards your spine to keep from dropping at the hips. Have your partner take a light bumper weight and place it on your back - starting with just 5-10lbs is a great place to start.
Maintain a perfect plank position during the duration of the exercise and then have your partner remove the weight from your back before you drop out of the plank position.
Trying out new variations to the fundamental exercise will help keep your workout routines interesting and challenging - give these variations a shot during your next workout!
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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