The plank is simple but awesome. Why? Well it works wonders for your whole body while engaging your core. Your core isn’t just abs, but a complex set of muscles that include upper, middle, lower, sides, and even the lower back area too. Exercises like crunches can be effective to an extent, but they don’t work the entire core area. One of the most effective ways to work your core is to do isometric exercises where your muscles hold tension without contracting. Like a plank! And with a plank you’ll find not only your abs, but lower back, hips and thighs get a workout too!
Although the plank is such a simple (yet powerful) exercise, there are variations of the plank that will increase tension in certain areas to get your abs firing up. This will give you a stronger more defined middle section.
Try out these plank variations and feel the burn! There are so many ways to do a plank, but these are two of my favourites that don’t need equipment – just you, yourself and your body weight.
Start on the ground on your side, resting on your hip and your forearm. From there, lift your hip up off the ground to form a straight line with your body, resting on your forearm and your feet, keeping your legs straight. As you lift off the ground, extend your top arm straight out above you. Hold this position, and then return to start position to complete the exercise.
Plank hand walk-out
From a standing position, feet hip-width apart, bend over to place your hands in front of you on the floor. Walk forward with your hands until you reach a normal high plank position with your hands under your shoulders, keeping your back and body straight. Once you’ve held this position for a few seconds, return to a standing position by walking your hands back under towards your legs until you're in the hands-down, bum up position. Repeat the movement from there.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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