Plank Workout – Four Variations for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced
If you have done crunches before, you probably know how much toll they could take on your body, specifically on your lower back and neck areas. Most people don’t know how to perform crunch exercises properly, which triggers workout injuries over the long run. This is where the plank workout comes in. A plank is an excellent alternative to crunches as it is simple to do, and does not strain muscles or bones.
Though a plank doesn’t visually resemble an abdominal workout, it is one of the most effective ab routines you can find. In addition to strengthening your core and abdominal muscles, a plank helps invigorate your back, triceps, lats, shoulders, buttocks, and quadriceps. In that sense, it is a full body workout.
Four Variations of Plank
There are several different plank variations you can do, depending on your fitness level and the muscle groups you are looking to target. Below are four variations you should try.
Plank on Knees
If you are new to planks, and/or have weak upper body strength, you should go easy in order to avoid any workout-related injury. Once you build up enough upper body strength, you can then move to the other variations. For this particular plank workout, kneel down on the floor (use a mat to avoid bruises), and rest your elbows on the ground in front of you. Your body should be at an angle of about 30 degrees from the floor. Make sure you keep your buttocks in line with your back, rather than sticking out. Lock your legs in place and hold that position for 60 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and repeat again 9 more times for a total of 10 times.
If you can do regular pushups, you should be able to do regular planks. The variation here is that you keep your knees off the floor. Ensure your body is not slouching, or that you are not raising your mid section above your shoulder level. Keep your arms and legs shoulder-width apart. Hold this position for 50 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and repeat again 14 more times for a total of 15 times.
Elevated Plank on Bench
This plank workout is for the more experienced exercise adepts. If you have been doing the regular plank for a while now, you should be a perfect candidate for the elevated plank on bench. Instead of resting your feet on the floor (as in the case of the regular plank), you will push yourself farther by raising them about 12-15 inches off the ground, atop a bench. Place your feet on the bench, rather than your shin or knees. This plank engages your muscle groups at a much higher resistance level than the previous two planks. Hold this position for 40 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and repeat again 19 more times for a total of 20 times.
Elevated Plank on Swiss Ball
If you are looking to challenge yourself to the highest extent, you should try the elevated plank on Swiss ball. Make sure the Swiss ball has enough air in it, to allow as much support as possible. Failing to do so will make the ball very bouncy, and may cause you to lose balance and injure yourself (and we wouldn’t want that to happen). To get in position, place one foot on the ball, while supporting your upper body with your arms on the floor. Then place your elbows on the ground and quickly lift your other foot atop the ball. Hold this position for only 30 seconds. You will however find that those 30 seconds are some of the longest seconds you’ve ever experienced! Rest for 10 seconds, and repeat again 24 more times for a total of 25 times.
Unlike what most people think, everybody has abs. However, abs are usually hidden under layers of fat. In order to reveal your 2, 4 or 6 packs, you have to lower your body fat percentage between 10-11% (men) and below 19% (women). To reduce your body fat percentage, you must engage in intensity cardio routines that are designed to burn significant amounts of fat. Once your body fat percentage decreases, only then will you be able to reveal your abdominal muscles through these various plank exercises.
Remember to always consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before embarking on any treatment, it’s your health and it’s IMPORTANT. Disclaimer
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