Want to build a stronger core without ‘moving a muscle’? TruBe says think planks!
Planks are isometric exercises (where muscle length and joint angle remain unchanged) and are one of the most effective bodyweight core exercise.
Planks are an ideal ab exercise because they engage all major ‘core’ muscle groups including the the rectus abdominus, the transverse abdominus the external oblique muscle.
Main benefits of the Plank exercise:
In addition to building a stronger core, you’ll decrease the probability of lower back injury, improve your posture, improve your balance and stability and increase your flexibility with the different plank variations shown below.
Classic Plank – Form and Technique:
Form is everything with isometric exercises like Planks. So let’s focus on the finer points and work on your technique to get the most benefit.
Get down on the floor on your elbows so that your elbows are under your shoulders, and your wrists are in line with your elbows. Ensure that your you are gazing down at the floor and hold your chin close to your neck. Your lower body should have contact with the floor only via the toes in the classic Plank variation. Now contract your glutes (your buttocks) and brace your core as if you are expecting a punch to your gut.
For a better plank:
Do not allow your hips to drop or keep your hips too high!
Don’t forget to breathe normally – do not hold your breath!
9 different variations of the Plank exercise
Level – Beginner
- Classic Planks. See above.
- Knee Planks
If holding a classic plank is difficult, lower your knees to the ground. Engage your core and do not round your back. Tuck in your tailbone and imagine drawing your bellybutton to your spine.
- High Plank
Spread all your fingers to make a wide, stable base. Line up your shoulders over your hands and heels over toes. Hold your body in a straight line from the top of your head down to your heels. Hold your core against gravity, being careful not to let your hips sag or your back round up.
- Side Plank
This works your Oblique muscles. Resting on your forearms, lie on one side in a straight line from head to feet so that your elbows are directly under your shoulder. Contract your core, lift your hips and hold.
Level – Intermediate
- One handed plank
Start in a classic plank position. Now without moving your hips and keeping your core contracted, test your balance as well by extending one hand out in front of you and bringing it back to centre. Repeat on the other side.
- Thread the needle plank
Start in a side plank position with one hand resting on your hips. Now lift the free hand all the way up and follow with your gaze. Now continuing to follow with your gaze, bring that hand back down and take it into the gap created between your lifted hips and the ground.
- Reverse plank
Sit on the ground 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. Hold for 2 seconds and bring it back down.
Level – Advanced
- Dynamic Plank
Start in a classic plank position. Transfer your body weight up from your forearms on one side to your palms of the same side. Now, transfer it back to centre. Alternate on the other side.
- Side star Plank
Start in a side plank position. Now extend and lift the hand and leg furthest from the ground, away from your body and hold. Turn and repeat on the other side.
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