Flavorful Experiences

Dedicated to experimenting and experiencing new ways of cooking, eating, working out, and home decor.

Enter the Plank

One of the most beloved (and hated) exercises ever is an exercise called the Plank. I’m sure you know what it is- holding yourself prone via your elbows and toes for a prescribed period of time.

I’ve done the plank twice so far this week, and its cousins: side plank, plank to pushup, and stiff arm plank. I’m going to have to work in the army crawl plank this week as well.

First off, why so much planking?

I’m scheduled for a mud run on August 18, which I’m excited for- it’ll be my first, and a great way to end the summer season workout-wise. Mud runs are known for their obstacle courses, which require a lot of upper body, lower body, and core strength to accomplish. A well-known part of this is crawling through the mud. I want to have fun crawling through that, not thinking “oh my gosh I want this to be over with because my abs can’t take it anymore!”

Second, the reason I called this post “Enter the Plank”: the one described above isn’t the only plank out there. There are so many variations that make it fun to play with it (ie the plank’s cousins). I wanted to see if I could compile a great list of all the plank options out there. If you know one that you don’t see listed, feel free to add it in the comments!

Isometric Plank Variations

  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Side Plank with 1 leg raised
  • Stiff Arm/Strong Arm Plank
  • Stiff Arm/Strong Arm Side Plank
  • Strong Arm 2-point Plank (opposite arm, opposite leg raised)
  • Strong Arm 3-point Plank Variations: 1-legged, 1-armed
  • Strong Arm Side Plank with leg raised
  • 3-point plank Variations: 1-legged, 1-armed
  • 2-point plank (opposite arm, opposite leg raised)

Non-Isometric/Movement Oriented Plank Variations

  • Plank to push-up Variation #1
  • Plank to push-up Variation #2 (with an actual push-up included)
  • Rolling Plank (kudos to the Bodyweight Coach/Shapeshifter team for that one)
  • Spiderman Plank
  • Army Crawl Plank
  • Side Crawl Plank
  • 10-second Plank (hold plank for 10 sec, then have knees touch ground and pop back up to hold, repeat for desired number of repetitions)
  • Inchworm Plank (walk hands toward feet, then back out and hold for desired length of time, then repeat for desired number of repetitions)
  • T-Ups/Plank Twist
  • Renegade Rows (strong arm plank with back rows included!)
  • Elbow Touch (easier variation of Renegade Rows, bodyweight only)

My best planking tip is to get your ab muscles to activate as much as possible. Have a partner (or yourself) tap on your stomach once you’re in the plank position, until you feel them tighten up. Also, I tuck my hips slightly under- it helps keep my back from sagging (one of the mortal sins of planking is having a sagging back!).

Your Experiences

What is your favorite Plank variation? Have you tried all the above?

Apparently there’s a 5-minute plank workout floating around the Inter-Webs; I had my hands on it once but have since lost it. Pretty much it involves holding several variations of the plank for a certain period of time until you hit 5 minutes, without losing the tension on the ab muscles. Crazy!


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This entry was posted on August 1, 2012 by in Workout Experiences.
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