Develop a stronger core and prevent back pain with these 3 plank variations. The plank is one move that works your core muscles while also shaping your waistline. It’s a simple body exercise you can do anywhere.
In this article, I’ll share three ways to do a plank and how to do them correctly to maximize your results.
Before getting to the planks, let’s quickly take a look at why you want to have strong core muscles.
Why Is It Important To Have a Strong Core?
Your core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move better whether you are performing daily tasks or playing sports.
It allows you to move in any direction with proper balance.
According to Harvard Health, your core is a sturdy central link that connects your upper and lower body.
Whether you are walking up the stairs or throwing a ball, your motions either originate or move through your core.
So having a strong is beneficial for everyone no matter the age. It is central to your balance, stability, and basic movements.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a stronger core leads to even more benefits. It can help prevent back injuries, promote the proper posture, and improve stability.
One of the best exercises to build core strength is the planks.
Below, I’ll share three plank variations that will not only strengthen your core but also your whole body.
The Three Plank Variations
High Plank Variation
Get down on all fours with your hands placed directly under your shoulders, spaced slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Push your toes into the ground, flex your quads, and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Keep your neck and spine as neutral as possible. Your head should be in line with your back.
Hold this position for 20-60 seconds. Once you can no longer hold this position, release and return to the original position.
Elbow Plank Variation
Lie face down with your legs straight back out behind you and knees and feet together. Bend your elbows and rest on your forearms, facing each other. Support your upper body on your forearms.
Engage your abs and push off the floor, raising up off your hips onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows. Form a straight line from your head to your heels.
Contract your abdominals to keep yourself up and prevent your lower from arching.
Hold this position as long as you can. Aim for 20-45 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute as you get stronger.
Side Plank Variation
Lay on your left side with your forearm on the floor. Both legs should be fully extended to the back and stack your feet on top of each other. Balance your body between the bottom elbow and the bottom foot. Adjust your bottom forearm so it lines up directly under your shoulder.
Tighten your core and lift your hips off the floor, forming a line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. You lift your top hand toward the ceiling or keep it around your waist.