Core strength is an essential element of any workout routine, and it entails more than strengthening your abdominal muscles. First of all, training your core defines your entire body, helping you look fantastic. Second, it helps you keep your spine straight, which is essential. Core muscles include not only the front abs but also the ones on the sides and the ones that are located in deeper layers. There many ways in which you can crank up your core strength, with planks standing at the top of the list. To come to your rescue, we have gathered some plank variations for you to try out.
#1 Side Plank
Begin by assuming the four-legged position, with the weight of the body being supported on the palms and the toes. What you want to do is bring the knee to the elbow, maintaining that position for a couple of seconds. Always make sure that the knee reaches the elbow and that you stay in that position. Perform ten repetitions on each side, so that you work those muscles and develop your core strength.
#2 Basic Plank
The initial position is similar to one of the push-ups. What you want to do is keep the elbows slightly bent, bringing the knee on the respective side towards the elbow. Perform ten repetitions for one side, then rest and repeat for the other side. Keep in mind that this type of plank is recommended not only for the development of your core strength but also to prevent the appearance of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. It will help your joints to stay in top shape, without any risk of inflammation, pain or stiffness.
#3 Forearm Plank
This is one of the simplest plank variations out there, and definitely, one recommended for beginners. What you want to do is lie face down, making sure that your legs are fully extended, and the elbows bent, the weight of the body being supported on the forearms and the toes. The feet should be maintained at a moderate distance apart, with the hips being taken as reference points. As for the forearms, use the shoulders as reference points. Lift your body off the ground, maintaining the support on the forearms and contract your abdominal muscles. Stay in that position for about one minute, then rest and repeat.
#4 Straight Arm Plank
This type of plank is more suitable for those with a little bit more experience but, nevertheless, it can be attempted by courageous beginners as well. You can begin by assuming the four-legged position, making sure that the hands are kept directly under the shoulders. The weight of the body is supported on the palms of the hands and the toes. Lift your body, straightening the legs and contracting the abdominal muscles. Make sure that the body is kept in a straight line and try to maintain this position for as long as you can.
#5 Arm/Leg Lift Plank
You can expect this plank variation to be recommended to those with experience and you are right. On the positive side, you should know that it allows you to work more than your abs, having a positive effect on the muscles of the chest, gluteus muscles and it can help you to strengthen your core. Begin by assuming the four-legged position, then lift your body, so that the weight of the body is supported on the palms of the hands and the toes. Lift alternatively the hand and the foot on the opposite sides, resting for a little while between the repetitions.
#6 One-Sided Plank
This plank variation is interesting, helping you work on a lot of muscles at once but it will require excellent balance. You can begin by sitting on one side; then, lift your hand, until the elbow is straight. The entire weight of the body will be supported by the palm and the lateral side of the foot. The other hand is extended in the air, with the fingers pointing towards the sky. What you want to do is contract your abs, trying to maintain the position for about one minute. You can then rest and repeat for the other side. In general, three reps are recommended for each side.
#7 Plank & Jump
If you are interested in developing your core strength and you like a good challenge on the side, this is the right plank for you to try out. You can begin by assuming the four-legged position, the weight of the body being supported by the palms (elbows extended) and the toes. Contract your abs, maintain the position for half a minute, and then try a jumping jack. Rest and repeat, taking advantage of this rather exciting plank variation.
#8 Dolphin Plank
This Plank borrows some elements from the practice of yoga, allowing you to work not only on your abs but also on the back and shoulder muscles. You can begin by lying face down, with the weight of the body being supported on the forearms and the toes. For the next step, what you want to do is raise your hips, maintaining the legs extended and the same support on the forearms. Maintain the position for one minute, then rest and repeat. As this plank works on different muscle groups at the same time, it should come as no surprise that it is highly efficient when it comes to core strengthening!
These are a couple of plank variations that you have to try, especially if you want to look fantastic for many years to come. As you have seen, these planks can help you prevent inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. To support the health of your joints, it is also recommended to take health supplements. It can help you maintain the joints in top shape, reducing the risk of discomforting symptoms, such as pain, stiffness or inflammation.