Want to tone your abs but bored with the static, orthodox plank position?
The plank exercise is a staple core exercise that works everything from your abdominal's, lower back, shoulders, and glute's. Developing a strong core makes almost all physical exercise easier and significantly lowers your risk of injury both in everyday life and when exercising.
But the plank alone can become a little stale. After all, there's only so long you can suspend yourself prostrate upon your elbows without getting bored. So, with that in mind, here are ten of the best plank variations to keep your mind interested and your abs exercised:
Single Arm Plank
Begin in a standard plank position. Slowly straighten your right arm, taking care not to allow your hips to either raise or dip. Then repeat on the other arm. This is a great variation to work on your core stability and balance
Single Leg Plank
The leg version of the variation above. Begin in the standard plank position then raise one leg off of the ground. Be sure to keep your hips even and both legs straight throughout the movement.
Stability Ball Autograph Plank
This is a great variation for really hitting your abdominal whilst in the plank. Kneel next to a stability ball with forearms on the ball, then lift your knees so that you are in a plank position. From this position, move your forearms to assume the pose that you would need to write your name on the stability ball.
Bird Dog Plank
Begin in a traditional plank. Lift your right leg out straight behind you and then bring your left arm up and out in front of you. Keep your body in a straight line throughout the exercise. Great for enhancing your core stability.
This challenging exercise is the perfect option when you want to hit your ab muscles hard. Begin in a forearm plank on a stability ball, then push your arms forward to roll the ball away a few inches. Hold at the most difficult extension and roll back in. Remember to breathe.
Plank Crunches On Stability Ball
Roll over a stability ball into a straight armed plank. Pull your knees in toward your chest, crunching your abdominal muscles and rolling the ball in towards you. Now return the ball to its original position with your legs.
Begin in a standard plank with your legs together. Jump your legs out to the side as if you were attempting a horizontal star jump, then jump back into the start position. This is a great exercise to be used for inclusion in a Tabata drill to combine your core work with high intensity cardio.
Walking Plank (bent arm to straight arm plank)
This is another great variation that works really well in a circuit training workout. Start in a traditional plank position and then, on your left arm, replace your left elbow with your left hand. Now do the same on the other side, so that you have assumed a straight arm plank. Finally, 'walk' back to the starting position. Be sure to keep your hips straight and in line throughout the exercise.
Knee to Inside Elbow Plank
Start in a traditional plank position and draw your right knee in towards the inside of your left elbow. Then do the same on the opposite side. All the time, be sure not to drop your right shoulder and hip.
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