the plank

Fitness Tip: Plank Variations

Planks are a wonderful exercise for trunk, hip and shoulder stability and moving planks are far more effective and burn more calories than isometric planks. So once you’ve mastered the plank it’s time to start moving in that plank, to start challenging the core and to start burning more calories.

Plank with Walk In:

From the full plank position with hands under shoulders and back straight, walk into a tuck by taking small steps forward and keeping the knees close to the floor and hips down. Then take small steps backwards and return to starting position.

Plank with Walk Around:

From the full plank position, take small steps with both feet to one side then rotate hand and finish in a side plank. Next, walk feet back and around to the other side and rotate into a side plank.

If your wrists bother you in a full plank then drop down onto the forearm and walk forward and back or side to side on your forearms and toes. To modify the plank, drop to your knees but continue to shift your body weight from side to side.

The Amazing Plank

There are few core moves as effective as the plank.

The plank develops core stability by strengthen the inner core muscles of the rectus abdominis (outer abs) and transverse abdominis (inner abdominals), in addition to your abdominal obliques that in turn support your joints.  Planks can help you get past strength training plateaus and improve energy transfers between your upper body and lower body.  They strengthen the low back and align the shoulders, back, hips, legs and feet which in turn promote good posture and prevents back injuries.  Planks are even used in yoga for stress reduction by suppressing anxiety and depression in addition to core strengthening.

The value in a plank is not in the holding of the isometric plank, but in the creating of the plank from a resting position, to an isometric hold.  Once the plank has been created, the challenge to the core comes in the moving and shifting of the plank forcing the core to constantly reposition and balance the body despite the shifts in weight distribution.

There are countess varieties of shifting planks including side to side, front to back, and circular motions in a plank.  Simple alternating arm and leg raises add to any plank whether it be a side plank, forearm or full plank. The walking plank (forward and backwards, or side to side) is a form of a moving plank that is even more challenging to those who want to add a little intensity in their core strengthening.

Best of all, plank workouts can be done anytime, anywhere, with no equipment and with great variety to keep your core strengthening effective, interesting and exciting everytime.

Ellipse Fitness Tips – The Plank

The Plank is a very effective way to engage your core and build strength that will help with posture, exercise performance and for many of us reduce chronic pain.

First, if there is an area that is key to physical activity it is the core.  This is area in our midsection of the body that helps support the spine and is the synergist to all lower body movement.  It is safe to say if you want to take movement to the next level start with your core!

To perform a plank: Lie flat on the floor or preferably a padded mat. Place your forearms and elbows below your shoulder joints. Tighten your core (this may be difficult but imagine that you were bracing your stomach as if something was going to fall our jump on it.) Press your body off the floor so that only the balls of your feet, forearms and fists are touching.

Hold a plank for 60 seconds or until you cannot hold it with proper form. Come out of the plank slowly by lowering your knees to the floor.

You may want to perform a plank next to a mirror to see your form… is your body in a straight line from your head to your feet?

Be patient with this exercise, while in a plank remember to breath and relax your head.