by: Brandon Richey–Get Free Updates And Training Guides Here
Advanced Plank Variations For Serious Gainzzz
Planks are probably one of the most common “core” exercises that people perform these days in order to try and achieve optimal stability. Granted many folks don’t understand why they are doing them and even how to do them at the most basic level.
Even though this is the case for many, for those that do understand the driven purpose behind planking today I’m going to talk about a couple variations that will challenge you in a completely different way.
Time and time again you’ve seen planks performed for long amounts of time with folks attempting to set record breaking times in order to be most recognized in executing this particular task. Even though this is the case with many I prefer performing the basic plank in a bit of a different way.
Instead of focusing on time as the deciding factor in the effectiveness of the drill I prefer to focus on tension…and creating lots of it. Remember if tension is the key to producing strength then why not apply this element to the plank?
When in the plank position (as seen in my photo at the beginning) you’re resting on your forearms with your body forming a straight rigid line from your shoulders all the way to your ankles. Once in this position I like to perform it (and to also cue my students to perform it) by depressing the shoulder girdle while also firmly contracting the quads by pulling the knee caps up.
When doing this we are essentially drawing the body in at its center. In essence we are creating support where there is the least amount of support when holding this position by not allowing any part of our body between our elbows and ankles to touch the ground.
In addition to this I also want to create as much tension as I can by “drawing in” the body and squeezing every muscle with as much force as I can produce up to about 10 seconds. This is how I perform the basic plank. Tension is emphasized over time as the primary goal for this drill.
Other Plank Variations…
Now once one has mastered this variation I do prefer to implement some more dynamic variations of the plank while also promoting stability within the movement. One great variation I like to implement is the prone dumbbell/kettlebell drag. Check it out.
As you can see I’m still having to maintain a strict rigid position even while grabbing the dumbbell to drag it over to the other side of my body. Even though I’m moving the weight from right to left with each movement I’m still having to create considerable stability by not allowing my body (particularly at my hips) to tilt to one side when stress and load are transitioned from one side to the other.
Once this plank variation is mastered you can step up the intensity a bit further by incorporating an even more dynamic movement with the inclusion of a push up and an upright push up plank position. Check it out here.
Once again you can still see the anti-pattern resistance is in full effect despite the dynamic push up movement. In other words, after each push up I’m still forced to maintain internal shoulder strength as I drag the dumbbell from one side to the other. I’m still fighting like mad to keep my hips square and parallel to the ground without giving into the urge to lean or tilt to one side between each drag of the dumbbell.
This is a tremendously simple, but effective movement for looking to build up some serious core strength and overall spinal stability. I usually perform 6-10 slides per set with a 35-60 lb. weight. What do you think of these plank variations?
Don’t be shy. Please post up in the comment box below. Keep training smart.