As you go about your workout sessions, one core exercise that’s a must have for just about everyone, is the plank. This exercise is great for strengthening all the muscles running up and down your spinal column and will even challenge your shoulders and arms to some degree as well.
Once you are able to perform the standard plank without a problem, then it’s time to take a closer look at what you can do to advance it and see even greater benefits.
The plank exercise is one that will yield excellent results if you constantly strive to keep challenging yourself.
Here’s what to know…
1. One Leg Plank. First, consider a one-leg plank. For this one, you’ll simply get down into the normal plank position and once you’ve maintained your balance, lift one leg directly up off the floor, raising it back behind you.
Hold this position for as long as you can before lowering it back down again.
On the next rep, lift the other leg instead.
This one will also test your balance capabilities, so is a great agility builder.
2. Spiderman Plank. Next, an advanced version of the one leg plank is the spiderman plank. With this one, you’ll lift your leg up off the floor and bring your knee into your shoulder as high up as possible.
Pause briefly and then lower again. Continue repeating until all reps are completed and then switch sides and complete on the other side.
3. Exercise Ball Plank. Finally, the last exercise you’ll want to consider doing is the exercise ball plank. This one can be performed one of two ways.
First you can do it with your feet up on the exercise ball, balancing on your hands. This is a good starter exercise to do as it’s slightly harder than the usual plank movement.
Then, once you’re really ready for a challenge, try the exercise with your hands up on the exercise ball instead. Because you are now placing the instability factor under your upper body, you’re going to get far more core activation while doing this variety, making it an extremely challenging movement.
The exercise ball plank is one that will work your entire body to a much larger degree, so is a great progression movement to be doing.
So there you have some quick and simple ways to adjust the standard plank to make it more challenging. Make sure you can hold the regular plank for 45 to 60 seconds first before progressing to these.