The Fitness Papers: 8 Plank Variations to Challenge Your Core

The Fitness Papers: 8 Plank Variations to Challenge Your Core

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The plank exercise is a staple core exercise that works everything from your abdominal, lower back, shoulders, and glute. 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 upon your elbows without getting bored eventually.

With a series of quick tweaks though, you can transform the humble plank into a whole array of new muscular challenges to finally build those six-pack abs you’ve been after.

Try these 8 plank variations and challenge yourself:

Standard Plank: Also known as the “push up” position. Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width). Ground toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Your head should be in line with your back. Hold the position for 20 seconds

Elbow Plank: Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width.

Side Plank: Using your lower elbow and forearm, prop your body up, making sure to keep your abs tight the entire time. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Challenges not only your abs but also your obliques and your shoulders.

One-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. It puts your torso off-balance, forcing your core to work harder.

One-Leg Plank:  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. A great way to reveal strength imbalances across your core and challenge your glutes.

Shoulder Tap Plank: Lock yourself in the plank push-up position ensuring that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bring your right arm off the ground and touch your left shoulder.

Reach Under Plank: Lie on your left side your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Now raise your right arm straight above you so that it’s perpendicular to the floor.

Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, and then lift your arm back up to the starting position. This helps improve flexibility in the hips, and stability in the core and upper body.

Star Plank: 

An ultra-tough variation on the standard plank. See how long you can hold it, and how far out you can span your arms and legs.

Well there you go. Now you have the variations that will give you the extra edge in getting rock hard abs and a super strong core. Try it!

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