Planks are great bodyweight exercises, and an amazing one to work on your core. Plank is not just a killer workout for your core but it can engage more than 20 muscles all at once and that includes your shoulders, back, arms, legs, and glutes.
There are some superb variations of the plank, such as the rolling plank exercises, side plank, forearm plank rock and more. Plank workout helps your back and relieves the stressed hip flexors that get worked on with traditional sit-ups too.
If you are a pro at doing the good old plank and can stay in the plank position for 30 seconds in a time then, you should try adding 5 more sections each time you work out to help you get better at the plank game.
If you are browsing through your Instagram feeds and feel amazed at the immense fitness prowess of people who can nail a 5-minute plank without dropping much of a sweat then now is the time to start practicing plank variations.
Mastering the following various plank variations can turn you from a beginner to an experienced intermediate. These variations are effective, tighten and tone your core apart from 20 other muscle groups.
Try these plank workout variations to slowly and steadily bring you A-game into fitness as you solidly build strength, balance, and endurance.
1. High Plank
The form is the most important element in planks. Proper form can also help you avoid injuries. Bring your body into tabletop position as you kneel on the floor with your hands directly below your shoulders. Lift your knees until you are able to support your weight on your toes and hands. Make a strong base with your fingers. Keep your hands and heels over toes. Now, hold your body in a straight line your head down to your heels. Brace your core to get the best of the workout.
2. Rocking Plank
Once you have nailed the basic plank, move forward your toes until your shoulders edge just past your hands. Then move your shoulders backward until your heels go beyond your toes. Exercise controlled movements so that you can challenge your balance, coordination, and shoulder strength. This move can also be tried on your hands or forearms.
3. Rolling Plank
Try the rolling plank exercises for a cast iron core. Move onto a high plank position and tuck your hands directly under your shoulders while you’re your fingers pointing forward. Drop your left knee to the floor as you rotate your hips counter-clockwise till your right hip is just over your left hip.
Drop your left knee to the ground, and rotate your hips counter-clockwise until your right hip is directly over your left hip at a 90-degree angle. Lift your right arm straight up ensuring that your shoulders are in a direct line and your right shoulder is above your left. Squeeze your glutes and keep your side body well-aligned. Bring your right arm back to the ground as you raise your left knee and return to the full plank. You can repeat the exact same process on the other side. You complete one rep when you do both the sides.
4. Knee Plank
Sometimes, usually on the days, you do super-intensive exercise, doing a basic plank can prove to be extra hard. On those days, when you want to be kinder to your body, lower your knees to the floor. Keep your back straight and core super tight and suck in your belly button to your spine. This is a beginners move, so you have to graduate to a full standard plank to get the most out of it.
5. Plank with Shoulder Taps
Get into a full plank position and then reach out and tap your left shoulder with your right hand. Put the hand back down as you repeat the procedure with the left hand this time, as you tap your right shoulder with your left hand. Ensure your hips stay tight and not sway from side to side as you move. You can even imagine a glass of water resting on your back. This will help your core tight and stable.
6. Forearm Plank (Low Plank)
Start from a standard plank position and lower yourself until your forearms are resting on the floor. Keep your forearms parallel to each other with your hands flat on the ground or clasped together to make it more comfortable for you.
7. Reverse Plank
Sit on the floor and keep your legs outstretched in front of you. Keep your arms beside you. Place hands on the floor next to your hips and ensure your fingers are pointing towards your feet. Lift your hips as high as you can, maintain a straight line from chin to toes. If your shoulders aren’t flexible you can just take it slow. It may not be the easiest plank variation to try, just try and try till you get perfect.
8. TRX Plank
Adjust your TRX straps in a way that they are just 12 inches from the ground. Keep away from the TRX and kneel down. Keep your feet in the toe loops. Take it slow; don’t fall on your face as you attempt to try this. Move forward until your body is extended it out into a plank position. Place your hands or the forearms on the floor stretched before you. Raise your knees up so your body is in one straight line.
Try to do these plank variations 5-10 minutes a day to get seriously toned abs. Also, try to increase the duration of these exercises until you get stronger and fitter. Are you willing to devote this much time for your fitness? Well, then start with planks and gradually add more and more bodyweight exercises to get a fit and strong body.