So effective in its simplicity, the plank is an excellent exercise to strengthen your core. There are many great exercises to build core strength such as overhead squats, deadlifts, hollow rocks, l sits and squats. Adding different variations of the plank into your training will help you to attack your midline from new angles. Core strength will help to:
- Avoid injury
- Stabilise your spine
- Control and generate force effectively
- Stabilise movement
1. GLUTE PLANK
Also known as the glute bridge this plank focuses on the rear core muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Start with your upper back on a weight bench or edge of a couch and bend your knees at 90 degrees having your back completely parallel to the floor.
Start by lying on your side. Push yourself up onto your forearm and the side of your feet so your body is parallel with a wall. Make sure both feet are directly on top of one another. Slowly raise your hips off the ground and tighten your oblique muscles until your body is perfectly straight. Avoid letting your shoulders roll or twist. In addition to your oblique’s, the side plank also stresses the abductors, delts, and lats.
The uneven plank is just as much of a core builder as it is a triceps builder. “Unlike the standard plank, you’ll lift one forearm off the floor,” says BJ Gaddour, “Now your arm is holding the bottom position of a pushup, which instantly activates your triceps.” The longer you hold the exercise, the longer your triceps will be under tension. And since you only have one forearm on the floor instead of two, your core has to work overtime to stabilize.
4. PLANK BIRD DOG
Begin in a full plank position with your legs spaced at shoulder width. Lift your opposite arm and leg out until they are parallel to the floor. Hold a moment at the top. Return and repeat, Alternate from between both sides.
5. WALKING PLANK
In a forearm plank, begin to laterally arm crawl the length of your mat: Keep your core engaged and shoulders and hips squared to the floor as you move the right elbow and right foot. Maintain the same body position as you move left elbow and left foot, traveling the length of the mat. Reverse the direction, returning back to starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat.
6. REVERSE PLANK
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms, with fingers spread wide, on the floor slightly behind and outside your hips. Press into your palms, and lift your hips and torso toward the ceiling. Look up to the ceiling, point your toes, and keep your arms and legs straight. Keep your entire body strong, and form a straight line from your head to your heels. Squeeze your core and try to pull your belly button back toward your spine. If your hips sag or drop, lower yourself back to the floor.
The goal is to maintain a straight line and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. You may need to begin by holding the position for only a few seconds as you build your strength. It’s better to hold the correct position for a shorter time than to go longer in an incorrect position.
7. WEIGHTED PLANK
Adopt the plank position on your forearms. Next have a friend load plates onto your back as you stay braced. If you’ve never tried this before then it can be a good idea to take it slow at first. Its better to start off too light than too heavy and crush yourself.