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The 5 Best Plank Variations For A Stronger You

Young sportsman doing plank exercise on a fitness mat

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Different plank moves that work more than just your abs

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It’s a workout professional athletes and fitness experts swear by. The plank is a great workout with countless benefits for training your core and effectively cutting belly fat to get you those Tiger Shroff-esque washboard abs! Why stop there though? These five variations will give you so much more….

1. PLANK ROTATIONS: If you thought planks were the most excruciating minutes of your life, wait until you try this one. Start in a regular plank position, straight body from head to toe. Then, lift one arm and rotate/twist your body to reach up to the sky. Hold for 3 seconds, return slowly to the plank and repeat on the other side to complete one rep. Do 10 reps. It’s a step up from your traditional plank, as you’re required to twist and lower your hips towards the floor one side at a time. Slow and steady is the key. You’ll feel the burn by rep 5, we kid you not!

WORKS ON: Obliques, glutes, hips and back 

2. UNEVEN PLANK: This one is a double whammy! The uneven plank works as a triceps builder while working out your core.  Get into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Bring one forearm down to the floor, as if you were doing a plank with one arm (and hence, ‘uneven’). Now your arm is holding the bottom position of a push-up, which instantly activates your triceps. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes tightly so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for a minimum of 20 seconds and switch sides. The longer you hold the exercise, the longer your triceps will be under tension. The result? More muscle growth! Also, since you’re balancing on one forearm instead of two, your entire core has to work overtime to stabilize. Start by doing 5 reps on each side.

WORKS ON: Triceps and core

3. SIDE PLANK: Side planks target your lateral core muscles, taking you one step closer to those bulletproof abs! Lie on one side and place your hand on the floor. Prop yourself up on your forearm or hand. Raise your other arm, so that it is perpendicular to the floor or rest it on your hips. Lift the hips up off the ground so you are supporting yourself by resting on foot with the other foot slightly in front of that one to help stabilize. If you’re at an advanced level, you can keep one foot over the other. Make sure your core is engaged and your hips aren’t too high or too low, and to keep your body in a straight line. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds on each side, which makes up for 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

WORKS ON: Obliques, lateral core muscles and hip abductors

4. KETTLEBELL PLANK ROW: You can easily use dumbbells for this workout instead. Either way, you’ll work on strengthening your back muscles. Set up in plank position, with your left hand on a bench in front of you. Hold a lightweight kettlebell/dumbbell in your right hand, arm hanging naturally. This is the start. Tighten your core and glutes, and row the weight to your right rib cage; pause for a moment, then return to the start. That’s 1 rep; do 10 per side. Squeeze your glutes and core to maintain a strong spinal alignment, with your gaze focused on the floor in front of you.

WORKS ON: Core, shoulders and back (lats)

5. PLANK WALK-UP TO PUSH-UP: Just 60 seconds of this move will leave your arms shaking and your core burning! As the name implies, the exercise requires you to shift from a basic plank position to a push-up position for 30 seconds to 60 seconds straight.  Your body needs to be in a straight line from your head to your ankles while at it! Make sure to not sway your hips while changing positions. The faster you go, the harder it is to maintain a perfectly stable plank—and the harder your upper body has to work!

WORKS ON: Core, biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps

The plank can be used as the base for a wide range of superhero sculpting moves. Once you add dumbbells, Kettlebells or other weights to the mix, the possibilities to maximize your plank routine, only gets better!

 

[Image Credit: Freepik]

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