From time immemorial, right from the time of early Greeks to computer geeks, there has been just one exercise to keep your core in shape. Plank exercises are not only used for toning your abs, but they are used for strengthening your shoulder muscles, abdominal muscles and a number of others. Planks are wildly popular among fitness freaks because it is one of those few exercises that you can do anywhere. Planks simply do not need any specialized gym equipments like dumbbells. All you need is a floor and if absolutely necessary, a mat.
Check out how to do a regular plank here.
Why switch up?
Though planks are known to be tremendously great, there is one drawback to it. For those who do plank regularly, you just know how boring it can get. While you can do regular planks or static planks, as professionally called, as a bonus workout there are a number of ways to switch up your planks!
All you really need is a Swiss ball or stability ball. That too only for a few of the variations and not all!
Switch up with:
- Rocking Plank: This is the easiest and lowest grade variation of the basic plank. All you need to do is get into your static plank position. Then move yourself forward with your hands firm on ground such that your shoulders move beyond your hand level and then move back till your heels cross your toe level.
- Forearm Plank: In this variation, all you need to do is get into a static plank position. Then lower yourself till you rest on your forearms. This can be done with keeping your hands apart or clasped together. This is also a beginner level variation, so that you don’t have to stress your body out on the first day.
- Side Plank: This is as far as you can go on beginner variations. In side planks you need to bring your toes together while standing on a static plank position. Then slowly lean to your right side and lift your left hand up and point it to the ceiling. Repeat the same the other way so that you get an even tone throughout your core.
- X-Plank: This is an intermediate level plank exercise. After standing in a standard plank position, spread your legs to more than your hip width. And then slowly spread your hands out too so that your plank is shaped like an X. Do not do this for a long time. Actually, you can’t!
- Plank with Swiss Ball: The most boring part of a static plank is that it is stable. To make it more challenging simply put your feet on a Swiss ball. You will see that you start wobbling. Balancing this out requires great focus and by doing this you gradually increase your abs strength and shoulder strength.
- Extended Plank: Assume a standard plank position and extend your hands as far out as you can. You will find this very stressful and more than enough to exhaust you from your static plank, though this one is static as well!
- Bird dog Plank: This is an advanced plank exercise. After assuming a standard plank position, simply lift your right hand up and keep it right in front of you. Simultaneously lift your left leg too and try to maintain this position for as long as you can.
- Plank Crunches: This brings the best of both worlds to you. Assume a plank position with your feet on the Swiss ball. Then pull your knees in with the ball so that you have a plank crunch. And then push your legs out. Repeat it as many times as you can.
If you need some simple other ways to make your planks more dynamic, you can check out http://www.12minuteathlete.com/8-plank-variations-super-strong-core/
To get a mix of static and dynamic planks with a proper hierarchy order of increasing toughness refer http://greatist.com/move/plank-variations-for-core-strength?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=textlink&utm_campaign=latest-articles