Core, core, core and more core!
A strong core not only helps with stability, balance, and power during activity, it also helps reduce stress on joints and protect against injuries. Your core is made up of more than just the abdominals, your core muscles include those that run from the pelvis along the spine and to the shoulder girdle (think front, back, top, bottom, right and left side from shoulders to hips).
Have fun with the below variations of a plank to build core strength and stability.
Take your jumping jacks to the floor for this plank variation that not only works your arms, core, and lower body, it might just get your heart pumping as well.
- Begin in plank position (top of a push up with shoulders stacked over wrists) with your feet together. Upper body stable and core braced.
- Begin jumping jacks with your legs. Hop wide, then hop together. Jump as quickly as you can control without compromising low back. (Lower impact: tap one foot out wide and return to center, then the other.)
- Work to complete 30 jacks. Rest, then repeat 2 additional times.
Elbow (forearm) Plank
- Start on the floor, resting on forearms and knees.
- Step feet out one at a time, coming into a plank position with shoulders stacked over elbows.
- Engage your core creating one long line of energy from crown of head to heels, including the glutes, avoid hips lifting or dipping). Be sure to fire up the leg muscles and broaden shoulders to get that full body engagement.
- Hold 20-30 seconds, and work your way up to one minute. Remembering to breathe the entire time.
Elbow Plank With Donkey Kick
- From elbow plank position (see above), hover right leg, bend right knee, flex heel, and press foot up toward the ceiling without moving your pelvis.
- Lower the bent leg slightly (moving an inch up & down).
- Repeat for a total of 15 to 20 repetitions; then complete on other side.
- Rest, Rest, then repeat 2 additional times on each side. (*Option to lower opposite thigh down on ground for support, especially if feel tension in hips or low back,).
Up-Down or Walking Plank
- Begin in an extended arm plank position.
- Lower Right elbow to the floor (shoulder stacked over elbow). Then lower Left elbow to the floor.
- Next, return to the starting extended arm plank position, first onto your Right palm and then back onto your Left. This completes one rep.
- Perform 10 reps starting with your Right elbow. Then reverse directions by bringing your Left elbow down first for an additional 10 reps. Rest, then repeat on each side a second time.
- Start in a plank position, feet hip distance apart. Lift left leg off the ground so heel is roughly in line with pelvis. (Option to lower Right thigh down for additional support if needed).
- Keeping torso steady, reach right arm forward. Brace through the center body and breathe. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
- Then, keeping torso stable, drive right elbow to left knee under your body. Work to keep your pelvis low and spine neutral. Then extend arm and leg out and away from each other. This counts as one rep. Works towards 8-10 reps.
- Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Once complete, rest, then repeat 2 additional times.
How do you rock your plank?
With so many versions to choose from each day can be a fresh, new combination to not only strengthen your core, but also create a full body mini workout, especially if you are running short on time. Stay tuned for part two with additional options of plank work next week. Hope you enjoyed a few of my favorite plank variations, and be sure comment below with yours!