It’s funny; most people I meet hate the plank and instead prefer to do sit-ups.
Not only are sit-ups bad for your lower back, but they’re also pretty much ineffective and impossible to do if you’re overweight and sporting a belly.
In addition, 95% perform the sit-up incorrectly by using momentum to swing themselves up because they can’t make it up with their core muscles alone.
That totally defeats the purpose and can cause injury to muscle tissue and bones (arthritis).
The next funny fact I’ve frequently observed is that personal or gym trainers love to make their clients do sit-up variations in their sessions. Be that group or individual workouts — I’ve seen it all.
All that nonsense is put out there when all you have to do for the strongest core ever is plank!
I’ll go with the classic and sideways plank on most strength training days mixed with other bodyweight exercises.
Once or twice a week, I’ll do a walk and core day. That’s when I’m feeling pumped and ready to blast out this killer core session.
Here’s the 6 Way Planking Routine.
Depending on how long you can keep each position, one set will take between 4 to 8 minutes. However, the absolute minimum time you should aim to hold each plank is 30 seconds.
If you’re new to the plank, just do your best, and fight through the burn as long as possible.
If you can, do at least 2 sets with a 2-minute rest between sets, or even better, 3 sets.
How I do it:
Get into classic plank, make sure your body is absolutely straight, hips not sagging down, and butt not sticking up. Those are cheating planks!
I hold this position for 2-minutes.
15-second rest, on to the next.
Swing to one of your sides, rest on your elbow, make sure your body is now diagonally straight and your hips are not sagging down.
Raise your outside arm up with your hand pointing to the sky, and look up to the sky — this ensures you keep a good posture.
I hold the sideways plank for 1-minute, followed by a 15-second break, then switch to the other side and repeat for 1-minute.
30-second break, on to the next.
Now you are switching your body around, not facing the ground, but up to the sky or ceiling instead. Put your arms behind your back, lock your elbows straight, keep your pelvis aligned and body diagonally straight.
I hold this one for 1 minute. The reverse plank is tough to stay in for long.
Another 30-second break is required here, as the following exercise is a burner.
Here you get back into the classic plank position, then push all the way up with your right arm, and go back down again to repeat on your left side.
This method is super hard on your core, shoulders, arms, and concentration.
I’ll aim for 1-minute.
Lastly, a 45 to 60-second break before the ultimate plank challenge.
The Squeezing Plank
Not many people know about his method.
You go back into the classic plank and imagine you’re planking on top of 2 walls and have to pull the walls together, so they touch.
Now you grit your teeth, and without actually moving your arms and legs, you are trying to squeeze that imaginary wall together as hard as you can.
Go full power — you likely won’t last 15-seconds. I tend to make 30-seconds with this position — it’s a real killer!
And that wraps up the 6 best ways to plank!
Don’t waste your time doing sit-ups or using some gym ab machine. All of that is nonsense and counterproductive, even dangerous.
Use your body as your gym, get down on the ground and practice this fantastic planking routine 1 to 2 times per week.
These planking exercises don’t only work your core — they build your shoulders, neck, lower back, and arms as well. Plus, this routine will boost your mindset and confidence.
Even better if you can combine this routine with a brisk walk or slow jog outside. Being in the outdoors pumps up your motivation to work harder.
Thanks for reading,