I’m guessing you can tell by now I love to plank. Getting creative with your planks delivers you a stimulating workout for your whole body and mind.
Not only that, this planking routine, promotes mobility, flexibility and is fun. Once done, you’re ready for lift-off into a fantastic day.
A few months ago, I wrote a story about my favorite planking routine, which I’d execute 2 to 3 times per week.
I’m always on a quest to think of and create interesting and challenging bodyweight moves, so I’ve come up with a bunch more planking options to spice up your workout program.
You don’t need to complete this routine all in one, you can if you’ve got the power and motivation, or you can split it into 2 or 3 routines.
Take the first 4 one day, then the next 4, and finally the last 5. One thing I can assure you, you’ll never get bored of planking again, and you’ll soon feel and see a rock-solid core.
That way you can add a string planking session every other day, that’s never the same. And that’s what I call fun and funky working out, instead of monotonously pumping weights, or other such set classes.
The plank misunderstanding.
People generally think or are misinformed the plank is only for your abs. That’s not at all the case.
It is, however, the absolute best way to work out your stomach muscles. No other exercise routine can beat the plank for that.
Planks work your whole core, and your core comprises of the prized and desired 6-pack, but much more:
Transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles.
Your minor core muscles include your lats, traps, and even your glutes, and to a smaller degree, your legs, and feet. Seeing that they have to keep you in a rigid straight position.
Planking unlocks greater total body strength, power, better posture, and an athletic body composition. All of this greatly diminishes your risk of injury.
The simple lifting of or moving heavy items around your house can cause a sudden pull of a lower back or core muscle. Not if you train yourself with the plank.
Let’s dive right into my new planking body blast.
For easy reference I’ll list the plank variations here first, then get into the photos, and method:
- Classic Plank
- Sideways Elbow Plank
- Sideways Extended Arm Plank
- Forward Extended Arm Plank
- Flying Dog Plank
- Reverse Plank
- Reverse Leg-Raise Plank
- Push-Up Plank
- Downward Dog Plank
- Push-Down Plank
- Twisting Plank
- Incline Classic Plank
- Incline Push-Up Plank
- The Thank You Plank!
Sideways Elbow Plank:
Method: Go on to one side, lean on your elbow, making sure your body is completely straight with your hips pointing forward, not backward.
Hold the sideways plank for 30 to 60 seconds, take a 15-second break, then switch to your other side and repeat for the same duration.
Method: Get down into the classic plank position on your elbows and hold your hands in front of your face to stabilize your position. Ensure your body is absolutely straight, hips not sagging down, and butt not sticking up — those are cheating planks!
Hold this position for 15 to 60 seconds, longer if you can, I go for 5 x 20 minutes during each planking routine.
Sideways Extended Arm Plank.
Method: Position yourself on one hand, with your arm completely straight, and elbow locked. Ensure your body is completely straight in the incline, again, with your hips forward.
This plank is more powerful than the Elbow Sideways Plank as you’re placing your full upper body weight on your hand and arm.
You’ll work your side-core, arms, wrists, shoulders, and lower back.
Hold the pose for 15 to 60 seconds, on each side. No break when you switch sides.
Forward Extended Arm Plank.
Method: As with the Push-Up plank position your hands in a wide grip, stay steady, arms straight, legs and knees fully engaged and your mind focused. Then raise one arm up and forward in a straight line, aligned with your plank body.
Hold for a good 15 to 30 seconds. This one is hard as it’s quite easy to lose your balance, which is why your full focus is required.
You’re working your full core, lower back, shoulders, arms, and in particular, the arm you’re leaning in is getting a superset workout, along with that side of your core.
Take a short breathing and re-set break and go for the other side.
Flying Dog Plank.
Why the heck do I call it that? Well, I love dogs, and this pose reminds me of my dogs back in Canada jumping or what looks like flying over a tree trunk or fence. Sadly, I’m not quite as elegant as the dogs when they fly!
Method: Position yourself in the Push-Up Plank position, your feet need to be quite far apart for extra balance. Then raise your right leg high up, and once you’re stable, lift the opposite arm and stretch your hand forward as far as you can.
Your arm and leg should be in a similarly aligned line. I’m not quite there in this photo. It’s very tricky to hold for long, as you easily lose balance, and the pose is darn hard on both your leg, core, arm and shoulder.
Once you’ve done the best you can, rest, re-set, and move to your other leg and arm.
Bang! A massive burn is done, and you’re also learning to compose and balance your body and mind. This exercise is excellent mind and body training.
Method: Switch your body around and sit on your butt. Then place your arms behind your back, rest your feet on your heels, legs completely stretched, lock your elbows and keep your arms straight. It’s key to keep your pelvis raised and body aligned, and straight.
Hold the position between 30 to 60 seconds.
The reverse plank is tough for beginners, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
You’re working your core, shoulders, arms, lower and upper back, neck and legs.
Reverse Leg-Raise Plank.
Method: Sitting back on your butt, get back into the same position as above with the Reverse Plank. Now raise one leg up as far as you can, while keeping your knee locked and leg totally straight.
Make sure to hold your pelvis up and don’t sag down to the ground, until you cannot hold it any longer.
Take a very quick breathing break, focus your mind, and repeat the pose by raising your other leg.
Aim to hold each leg up for a good 15 to 30 seconds, longer if you can, of course.
This plank puts a great strain on your belly core area, your hips, back, arms and shoulders. It’s a tough cookie to master, but rewarding when you do.
Method: Position your hands in a wide grip, as if you’re going to go down into a deep push-up movement.
Instead, stay steady, arms straight, legs and knees fully engaged and your whole body tight in the plank. You need to feel each muscle tingling as you’re holding this pose. No pelvis sagging either!
Hold for at least 30 seconds and aim for 6o seconds, or more if you can.
You’ll work arms, chest, shoulders, core, lower back and legs.
Downward Dog Plank.
Method: The Downward Dog is a classic yoga stretching position; however, you can make it a planking option.
Instead of just focusing on stretching your hamstrings and lower back, you’ll need to focus on your core muscles while in this pose. By this I mean, tighten them, by squeezing in tight and hard.
This method is a great stretch, while you can double up by adding a core squeeze to the mix!
Hold for at least 30 to 60 seconds.
This position doubles as a negative push-down exercise, and a huge plank, if you do this:
Method: Go down into the classic push-up position, with a wide grip, go down and stay down. But now you need to squeeze, and fully engage your core and abs — and that’s a blast.
Don’t expect to hold it for too long as this one is monster-hard. Just do your best, and repeat a few short sets, to build your confidence. You’ll soon get the hang of it.
Method: Go into the Push-Up Plank position, with a shoulder-width grip. Position one foot across from the other and reverse twist your pelvis as far as you can.
Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, rest briefly.
You’re working your shoulders hard on each side, core, arms, and hips are getting a good stretch and a muscle boost. Strong hips are vital for good posture and to avoid lifting injuries.
Switch to the other side, and repeat.
Incline Classic Plank.
Method: Grab a chair, bed or sunbed like I am here. Position your feet on the obstacle, get on your elbows, keep your whole body rigid and tight for a good 30 to 60 seconds.
Here you’re emphasizing the pressure on your shoulders, upper chest, neck, and of course, your core, and lower back.
Incline Push-Up Plank.
Method: Take the same position with your feet but now get on your hands, arms straight, elbows locked, and your body fully flat and engaged.
Hold again for a good 30 to 60 seconds or until failure.
This pose is great for your shoulders, core, butt and back.
My final plank is a thank you to my camera lady, who did a great job taking these photos.
However, raising one hand as you see me doing here giving the thumbs up, and holding it, will hugely blast your other side, with arms, shoulders, and core doing overtime!
Change sides and thank your other side and be grateful that you’re healthy and fit enough to pull off this mega planking routine.
Your final thank-you plank will bring a smile to your face, setting you up for a happy day!
As you can see, the plank is neither boring nor repetitive. All you need to do is find your creative side and play around with your plank moves. I’ve discovered many here for you to follow. Maybe you can figure out a few more and send them to me!
Enjoy your planks and a rock-solid core and lean upper body strength.
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