So you have been working hard at improving your plank form and seem to have mastered it. You can hold a plank until you get bored stiff and are not sure where to progress to. You surely don’t want to be holding a plank for 5 minutes – and that really won’t give you much more of a benefit than holding it for 2. So what should you do then?
Here are 7 more advanced plank variations. One of the major functions of the core is to stabilize and resist motion - that’s exactly what these variations are designed to do. Get ready to be challenged and improve your core strength!
1) Single-leg Plank (Difficulty - Medium)
Set-up the same as you would for a normal front plank, then raise one leg just high enough so that it is in line with back. Hold the leg still and straight throughout the duration of the plank, then switch legs.
2) Long Lever Plank (Difficulty - Medium/Hard)
This variation is similar to the front plank, but instead of your elbows being underneath your chest, they are out in front of your shoulders. Make sure you are still able to keep your back flat and body in a straight line while performing these.
3) Superman Plank (progress to single-arm) (Difficulty - Hard)
This similar to long lever plank, however the set-up involves the hands instead of your forearms. Start in a push-up position then walk your hands out as far as you can while still maintaining a flat back. Once you become proficient at this variation try the single-arm superman plank.
(Difficulty- Very Hard)
4) Weighted RKC Planks (Difficulty - Medium/Hard)
A partner is needed for this variation. After getting into the front plank position, have your partner set a weight plate on your lower back/hip region. Maintain a flat back and do not allow the weight to push your hips down. Have your partner remove the weight after your alloted time is up or when your hips start to dip.
5) Single-arm, Single-Leg Plank (Difficulty - Hard)
During this variation, set up exactly like the single-leg plank, then lift the opposite arm so that it is line with the shoulder and back. (ex. left leg, right arm). Keep both your arm and leg straight and do not allow either to dip down throughout the duration of the plank. Then switch arms/legs.
6) Side Plank (Difficulty - Medium)
The set-up involves turning onto one side, stacking your feet, and then raising your hips off the floor while on your forearm. Make sure to maintain a straight line from your feet to your shoulder (like the picture above). Do not allow your hips to dip or your upper body to rotate at all throughout the duration of the plank.
7) Side Plank w/ Leg Raise (Difficulty - Hard)
This plank variation is almost identical to the side plank. The only aspect that is different is the instead of stacking your feet, raise your top leg as high as you can while keeping that leg straight as well as maintaining a straight line from your bottom foot to your shoulder. Again, resist from dipping your hips or rotating your upper body.
Well there you have it - 7 plank variations to keep you from becoming bored and to keep you progressing.
Make sure you are able to properly execute a normal front plank for at least 60 seconds before attempting any of the variations.
Lastly, while performing the plank variations, make sure your form is correct and you are to maintain proper form throughout the entire time you are performing the plank. If you are unable, then choose an easier variation and work your way to being able to perform that variation.
Till next time,