A plank, as well as a useful building tool, is also a gym basic and is one of the first abdominal exercise after a crunch that most people do.
Now although a plank is a basic movement, it is a tried and tested exercise and hurts when done correctly.
The basic plank
Assuming a press up position, place your forearms on the floor and keeping your back straight, hold the plank position for as long as possible or a set time. Easy, right?
Wrong! A plank engages your stomach muscles and can be felt especially in the deep core muscles, and basically the longer you hold it the more it hurts.
Done with that? Below are 4 of my favourite plank progressions
#1 Stability ball plank
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Stability ball plank[/caption]
By adding a stability ball to a plank your adding balance into the equation , now the easy plank you were doing brings your obliques into play.
This plank progression can be done one of two ways: either place your forearms on the ball or your feet on the ball and hold for 30 seconds to begin with. Add on an extra 5 seconds each time you can hold for 30 seconds.
#2 Superman plank
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To become superman, you must first workout like superman...[/caption]
As well as giving you abs of steel like superman himself this plank works on your motor skills, like patting your head and rubbing your stomach.
Assume the plank position, then lift your left arm straight in front of you and at the same time lift your right leg then return and do the alternate sides.
This plank puts extra strain on your obliques and can be made harder by holding your arm and leg extended for a time.
Do 10 reps each side then progress by holding 5 seconds arm and leg.
#3 Side plank
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The side plank[/caption]
Sounds easy right? Wrong again!
This exercise hits those pesky love handles that we all seem to have from Christmas.
Start on your side with your feet crossed over (leg closest to the floor on top) and resting on your forearm (facing out to the side).
Now you need to keep your hips and shoulders in line and stop them from dropping so use the mirror for something other than checking out the hottie on the treadmill and keep your abs in line.
Again start with a 30 second plank on the right then swap sides.
#4 Plank super set (super duper set)
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Increase the pace to bring out your abs![/caption]
Now progression number 4 is the mother of all planks.
Warning! This exercise will hurt, if you're happy with this continue reading....
Start in the basic plank position and hold for 15 seconds.
Then straight away go into a side plank on the left hand side and hold for a further 15 seconds.
Once you have done the left hand side, hold in the basic plank position again for 15 seconds.
Then to finish a 15 second side plank on the right hand side.
Form is key so if you need to start with a 10 second plank, do it, do it now! Then build up and progress.
This plank works the core muscles like no other and will have you cursing the plank.
Well there you have it my personal favourite plank progressions, let me know how you find them and comment below on your favourites. Remember immediately after your workout to take a post workout shake