The Plank Exercise (and 10 Variations)
When training clients I usually get asked about which ab exercise is the best to do. Let’s be honest and say that pretty much all of them work…it’s just a matter of how you use them.
Although if I was stuck on a desert Island and could take only one ab exercise with me…it would be the Plank exercise.
And no…I’m not talking about this kind of “Planking”…
I’m talking about the plank exercise where actually use your abs instead of lie down like a useless piece of you know what.
I love to do the planks at the end of my workouts due to the fact that all of my secondary muscles are already fatigued at that point. Doing the plank will force my core muscles to work even harder at maintaining that position.
I don’t like to do them for more than 2 minutes as they decrease in benefit after that. If you can do a plank exercise for 2 minutes then it is time to graduate to a higher level variation of the plank.
Plank Exercise Routine
This one is very simple: Do 3 sets of 2 minute planks with a one minute rest in between. Once you can hit 2 minutes with perfect form then graduate to the next variation.
Plank Exercise Benefits
- You can do this exercise anywhere.
- Planks activate core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and iliopsoas, which stabilize your spine and hips.
- Planking exercises can really sharpen your midsection when you get down to a low enough body fat percentage.
- They help build a super strong core that will help your body avoid injuries.
- You gain strength in other exercises.
In the video below we show you a quick plank routine that you can do. All you need is a stability ball and a space big enough to fit your whole body.
Plank Exercise Variations
1. Plank on knees
2. Plank with wide legs
3. Plank with narrow leg stance.
4. Plank with alternating legs up.
5. Plank with one arm.
6. Plank with one arm and one leg up.
7. Stability ball plank.
8. Stability ball plank with alternating leg up.
9. Stability ball plank on chair.
10. Stability ball plank on one arm.
And there you have it. Again…try not to do the plank for more than 2 minutes. Once you can do them at 2 minutes make sure you push the variation a little higher and always keep challenging yourself.
Oh and one more thing….the “other” type of planking if for the birds…
Stay safe kids!