A front plank is an isometric exercise that targets the rectus abdominis. In other words, a plank is an exercise that is performed without movement to improve your “six pack.” If you have heard of the plank, but have never given it a try, it is a simple to add plank progressions to your workout routine. Plus, by changing a few things, it progresses in it’s intensity, so you can continue to use planks as your strength improves. The variety of plank progressions exercises are typically performed without equipment, so you can use the exercise anywhere. You can also add weights or other workout tools to it to increase or decrease the challenge.
The standard front plank is performed on your elbows and toes. Begin on your hands and knees and then lower your elbows and forearms to the floor. Position your elbows directly under your shoulders. Your palms can be flat on the ground, or your hands can be clasped. Extend your legs behind you and place your toes on the floor with your legs together. Lower your hips until your body is in a straight line and look down at the floor to protect your neck. This is the front plank position. As you breathe normally, maintain the plank for as long as you are able to maintain proper form. Gradually increase the duration until you feel ready to advance the position.
When the front plank is too intense, you can still use the exercise with slight modifications. Modifications include lowering your knees to the floor instead of performing the plank on your toes or placing your upper body on an incline. For example, position a step with three risers under one side and one under the other. Place your forearms on the angled step. You can also perform a plank while standing and resting your forearms on the wall. Walk your feet away from the wall for a greater challenge and press your hips toward the wall to straighten your body.
Once you have mastered the front plank and need an increase in challenge, first you can change your arm position. For instance, place your hands on the floor and straighten your arms. Other ways to increase the plank’s intensity include placing your feet on an elevated board or on top of a stability ball. You can also try raising one foot or one hand off the floor at a time. Or, ask a partner to place a weight plate on your lower back.
You can add movement to your planks to increase the challenge for your upper-body. In a front plank on your hands, walk your hands and feet four steps to the left and then four steps to the right. Or, you can walk forward and backward as you move across the floor. Continue to maintain the straight-back, plank position as you move. Clock planks are great challenges too. Perform a clock plank by keeping your hands in place, as if at the center of the clock and then walking your feet around a large circle as if touching every number on a clock face. Repeat your circle in the other direction for equal training.
Trying including these plank progressions into your workout routine. You’ll work your abs in ways you never have before. These exercises will not only strengthen your core, but you’ll get super sexy abs to boot!