Exercises to Strengthen Core

Advanced Plank Ab Training

Exercises to strengthen core. This workout encompasses 4 variations of the plank movements. This really targets your core, chest, triceps, and shoulders to give you a total body workout with plank type movements.

Four different movements are each done for time with 2 rounds of 30 seconds each. Total time is about 4 to 5 minutes to complete with minimal rest between sets. 

The following exercises are…

1) Plank Knee to Elbows

2) Plank Jacks

3) Alternating Side Plank Holds  

4) Plank Up and Downs

Remember you are doing each one for time. Go 30 seconds then immediately switch to the next exercise. A couple different variations of the plank movement is great for not only building your core, but the shoulder, triceps, and chest… you work these muscle groups very hard while continually bracing the abs

Do You Hate Planks?

The fact is, if you don’t like Planks this might not be a bad thing because for most of the population, Planks aren’t that effective an exercise. Planks can be effective for those that it’s challenging for. However, it may be a very small subset of the population that Planks work for. 

Too much focus spent on the static Plank is likely the reason why people have trouble building functional ab strength. This is because too many people are spending too much time on the ground mastering a variation of a static plank. The fact is most people can handle a lot more and if you aren’t challenging yourself with more difficult variations of planks, then you have a problem. 

You must learn other variations of planks that are far more challenging than the standard plank. 

Hip strength and stability along with ab core anti-rotation stability needs to be improved. There are things more important than just staying in a static plank position as long as you possibly can. In fact, if you can hold the position for a minute, then you don’t need to be doing static planks anymore. 

So What Should You Be Doing?

If you want to take your planks to a more functional level, the first thing you want to target is controlling rotation. By doing this, you will get the obliques involved as well. 

Thread the Needle Plank Variation

As you come through, you get top down rotation. The legs are kept in a static position while moving the top and rotating from the top to the bottom. This is a challenging movement.

You can also do another variation by moving the bottom with a fixed top. 

Alternating Top Taps – Exercises to Strengthen Core

The key here is to not fall forward or backward. You just slowly tap forward then tap backward. You will have to work really hard to do this. You can also elevate the plank and have a hip drop.

Hip Drop with Rotation – Exercises to Strengthen Core

Now we are just focusing on a hip rotation down and then lift up. You can see you aren’t just getting a static strength workout, you are also getting a hip rotation. These exercises are tough but you can do it. You just have to be willing to open up your eyes to the possibilities of doing variations other than the traditional static plank.

Hip Strength is Critical – Exercises to Strengthen Core

Most people have very weak hips. It’s tough to address the weak hips with a side plank. It can be done, by staggering your feet and moving the bottom leg to work the top leg. This is working the adductor on the top leg. The hip must stay really strong and contracted here to hold us up into the side plank as we move the bottom leg. You can then do the reverse as well. Keep the bottom leg there and now move the top leg. We are now working the abductors (outside muscles) of the bottom leg. If they were to simply give in, you would drop to the floor. 

Again, we are doing much more here than just a static plank. Just a few reps and you can feel it burning in your hips. You can also add combinations to this exercise. 

Plank Press – Exercises to Strengthen Core

The Plank Press is like a push up combined with the plank. The point is, the standard plank is likely not challenging you. Don’t make the mistake of just doing a regular static plank when you can push yourself much further. 

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