The plank is a very well known core exercise. It’s definitely a great exercise for building core and shoulder strength
But let’s face it, performing a 5 minute plank hold is about as exciting as watching paint dry. And, after a point it becomes less of a strength exercise and much more of an endurance exercise anyway.
In this article I am going to show you 9 ways to level up your plank game.
There is nothing wrong with the front plank.
It is a great exercise.
The problem is the duration that people hold the front plank. There is nothing really cool about holding a plank for 3 minutes straight.
Why is that?
The problem with long duration planks is they become less of a core stability exercise and more of a “how long can I hang my skeleton on my muscles while I stare at the floor” exercise. Good intention, poor execution.
A better variation of the front plank is the RKC plank (Russian Kettlebell Challenge).
The RKC plank is focused on generating maximum tension for a short duration. Or put another way high intensity of effort over a short time. The goal is to fire every available muscle, from your calf’s all the way to your forearms.
When done properly holding an RKC front plank for 10-20 should seem torturous.
Don’t worry if you start shaking. Shaking implies that a high amount of tension is being generated. Tension is good. Don’t fear the shakes.
•Regular front plank (after a few minutes this just becomes my muscles hanging on my skeleton. Not so awesome.)
Turning your regular front plank into the RKC style plank is progression # 1.
Once you get the hang of generating maximum tension for 10-20 seconds move on to the following progressions. These are in no particular order, but do keep these guidelines in mind:
•2 points of contact is more challenging than 3 points of contact
•Lifting an arm is more challenging than lifting a leg
•Wider feet is easier than narrow feet
•Adding weight is challenging
•Adding movement is challenging
•Adding weight + movement is even more challenging
•Forearm to hand to Forearm plank (up and down movement)
•Ab-wheel rollout (anti-extension strength)
As we have established, the plank is an awesome exercise.
From building a strong core to helping bulletproof your back, the plank (and it’s variations) should find a way into your workout program.
But, whatever the variation used the key points still remain the same…
•Maintain a tight stomach (braced core)
•Squeeze the butt cheeks
•Keep the supporting shoulder (s), hand (s), and wrist (s) in one straight line.
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