The plank exercise is a pretty well known static stomach exercise that can help you build strength in your abs. It is a highly recommended element in any good abdominal workout. However, most people know and perform just one version of this fine exercise.
In this article I would like to share a few more variations of the plank so you can use them to further boost your abs workout and build a stronger stomach.
The Standard Plank
In the standard plank, you assume a position similar to that of a push up. The difference is that instead of placing your palms on the floor, you rest on your forearms. You keep your back and neck straight and your eyes on the ground. You then hold this position for as long as you can, breathing normally.
Your abs will be under a lot of strain while you do this as the abdominal plank works the entire abs and core muscles.
This is the basic version. Now, let's tweak it a bit.
Stability ball plank
Using a stability ball to do a plank increases the intensity of the exercise. The reason is that you need to work with your internal core stabilizing muscles to keep your body motionless while the stability ball is an inherently unbalanced platform.
There are two ways to use the stability ball to do the plank exercise: placing your feet on the ball and placing your forearms on the ball. Each will strain your abs in a different angle. Working the abs in a variety of angles and intensities will help you to achieve a better overall workout.
Tip: using a stability ball may also prove beneficial with additional stomach exercises. It's a highly recommended piece of fitness equipment.
If you want to better target your obliques, you should incorporate the side plank in your workouts. A side plank needs to be done on each side for a symmetrical workout.
Here is how it's done: rest on one forearm and turn to the side so that your body is at a 90 degree angle to the floor. One side of your body should face the floor and the other the ceiling. Your legs should be stretched out with your feet crossed and touching the floor. Your torso should not touch the floor, just the sides of your feet and one forearm.
You hold this position for as long as you can to work the obliques.
Try different variations of the plank to work your entire abdominal muscles.