Planks are an excellent exercise that targets not only your core but your arms, shoulders, back, glutes, and more.
The standard plank is to fitness what the IPA is to beer.
Everyone does them but they are boring as hell.
Former US Marine George Hood set a world record when he held his body in a plank position for more than 5 hours!
The only thing worse than holding a standard plank for five hours would be having to watch a Jar Jar Binks documentary.
Static planks are great for beginners and though holding it for longer periods can be a sign of good core strength, to continue progressing we need to add some movement that will challenge our body to maintain stability.
A stronger core will translate not only to better movement in everyday activities, but it will also help you level up your squat and deadlift.
No more boring ass planks will be done from this point forth. The below plank variations will turn up the intensity in your core training and help take you from zero to hero in no time.
Plank Jacks (aka “Klap Trap” Planks)
“Plank jacks” sound like some weird sex position you would read about on Urbandictionary.
I am renaming these “Klap Trap Planks” because they remind me of the enemy Klap Trap in Donkey Kong Country. Since Donkey Kong Country is still one of the best games ever, it deserves to have an exercise named after it.
Start in your normal plank position with your legs close together. As if you were doing a jumping jack, jump your feet out to the side and then jump them back to the starting position.
Make sure to maintain a neutral spine as well as do not let your hips rise as you jump your legs in and out. You will feel a burn in your lower abs on this one.
Perform 15 reps for sets of 3-4
Every guy wants to build the body of a superhero.
This challenging plank variation will not only ignite your core in a blaze of glory but it will help you build a core powerful enough to withstand a punch from the Hulk.
Maybe withstanding a Hulk punch is a bit too much, but this plank variation will turn your core from zero to hero in no time.
Assume your standard plank position. From the starting position, keeping your hips in line with your shoulders, bring your right knee as close as possible to your right elbow.
Return to the starting position and bring your left knee to your left elbow.
Repeat this for 10 reps on each side performing 3-4 sets.
Hi my name is Robbie and I am a giant nerd who loves to lift weights and I also play a crap ton of video games. Hence why I view everything in fitness through a gaming lens.
This is my creation or concoction of a few plank variations that will challenge even the most hardcore of plank fans.
Each position in this series will be held for 15 seconds.
You will again assume the standard plank position but once in that position, squeeze everything from your neck down to your glutes as hard as you can. Your core should be tight enough that if someone kicked it their foot would bounce back.
When the timer hits 15 seconds, roll over into a side plank.
During side planks squeeze your glutes and the obliques (your side). Engaging your glutes in a side plank helps keep your obliques more stable and further engaged.
At the completion of 15 seconds here, roll over to your other side and perform a side plank on this side. Return to the center plank after this 15 seconds and hold again for another 15 seconds.
Your final “Tetris” piece is to perform the Spiderman Planks as mentioned above. If you pause as you bring your knee to your elbow, you almost look like the “z” Tetris piece here. Perform these planks for another 15 seconds.
This plank variation should take about 75-90 seconds total, perform 3 sets of these, resting for 60 seconds between sets.
Planks are one of the best bang for your buck exercises you can perform but the basic plank is about as exciting as an 8am math class.
Stop skipping your core work because it is boring. Man up, bro, and challenge yourself with these plank progressions, they will drastically help you level up your squat and deadlift numbers.