Core muscles are part of almost every move you make. Whether you’re doing everyday activities or playing your favorite sport, the muscles in your midsection work together to provide balance and stability to your movement. Strong core muscles not only help your body move easily and efficiently, but they can help prevent injury and other common causes of pain such as poor posture. And of course a strong core can help you get that oh-so-sexy midsection you’ve been wanting, too.
With all those benefits, it’s easy to see why core exercises are such an important part of a well-rounded fitness routine. The plank is one of the most popular core exercises for a reason. It’s extremely effective. When done correctly, it requires you to work to stabilize those core muscles for the entire exercise, beginning to end. Variations on the plank add other movements such as rotation that challenge your muscles to work in different ways, further increasing the effectiveness of this exercise. Planks can be easily modified to accommodate all fitness levels from beginner to expert, which means you can keep some version of it in your routine even as your fitness level improves.
If you want to add some planks to your routine or just add some variety and difficulty to the ones you already do, these variations can help take your workout to the next level.
Walking plank - Start in a push up position with your arms extended. Keeping your feet in place, walk your hands to the right 1-3 feet. Walk your hands back to center then 1-3 feet over to the left side.
Spiderman plank - If you’re a comic book or movie fan, you probably already have an idea how this exercise will go. Start in plank position. Bring your right knee toward your right elbow. Return to starting position. Bring your left knee toward your left elbow. Return to start. Repeat alternating legs.
Alternating hand plank - This move goes from a plank to a push up one arm at a time. Start in plank position with weight on your forearms. Push up with your right arm, extending it until it is straight. Then do the same with the left arm. Lower yourself back down to starting position (forearms on the floor) with your right arm then your left.
Proper form is important for exercising effectively and preventing injury. If you are having trouble doing exercises correctly or you need a more effective workout, consulting a personal trainer like Ralph Roberts in Amarillo can be a big help. A personal trainer can provide exercise instruction, support and a customized fitness routine to help make your fitness goals a reality.