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20 Not-So-Ordinary Plank Exercises for a Bulletproof Core

20 Not-So-Ordinary Plank Exercises for a Bulletproof Core

I'm sure you’ve heard many times that good core strength can help prevent injuries, especially in the extremities. Keeping the muscles of your pelvis and lower trunk strong can translate to better performance in your sport. Core strength is not just abs, but includes all the muscles of the pelvis, lower trunk, as well as hips, glutes, adductors and abductors.

An example of good core strength on the bike is being able to remain in the forward flexed position without having to lean too hard on the handle bars because most of the muscles holding you in that position are core muscles, not arm and shoulder muscles.

A runner with poor core strength will often hunch forward with shoulders internally rotated, especially when he/she is tired.

The importance of core strength is universal in most sports and is necessary for good form and injury prevention. Keeping it strong is a must. I am a huge fan of plank exercises for core strength as opposed to regular sit ups. The plank is much nicer to your spine, and engages your entire core and arms as well.

To spice things up a bit, I am giving you 20 of my favorite plank exercises with variations to help you create a bulletproof core. You will want to do 12 to 15 reps of each exercise and repeat 2 to 3 times for a great workout. Do these by themselves or incorporate them into your strength training program.

As you practice these over time, you will feel the effects of a strong and powerful core.

1. Bosu Plank Toe Taps. Keep your core tight as you gently tap your toes L and R. Barely any weight on your toes to engage the core.

2. Bosu Walk Out to Push Up. Keep your core stable as you walk out to the pushup. As you walk on your hands back to the Bosu, add a pike push up for added intensity.

3. Plank Jax. Hold the Bosu steady as you jump your feet apart keeping a tight core.

4. Bosu Plank Spidermans. Keep your belly low as your lift your inner thighs parallel to the ground and pull toward your elbow. Alternate right and left.

5. Resistaball Pike Push-ups. You must use your core to hold the ball steady as you pike and release to plank position.

6. Resistaball Plank Alternating Tucks. This is super challenging because you must stabilize your core strength to bring the knees to one side of the ball.

7. Plank Front to Lateral Lift. The key with this exercise is to keep a very flat back and try not to move the hips at all, keeping them square to the floor.

8. Elevated Plank Crossovers. A very challenging core exercise because not only are you elevated, but you must keep your core super tight as you move a single leg and over.

9. Elevated Plank Knee Pull. Similar to above and you must pull the knee in toward the chin then lift to straighten while keeping the hips square to the floor.

10. Elevated 3-2-1 Spiderman Pull. Here you are working the obliques by making your knee parallel to the floor while pulsing it 3X toward the elbow. A very difficult move, especially elevated.

11. Banded Plank Kickback. The resistance created by the band will work your glutes as well as your core. Try to keep the hips as square as possible.

12. Bosu Up Down Plank. Keep the hips stable and try not to turn them as you move up and down the Bosu or step.

13. Side Plank Front Kick. Doing this on your elbow keeps your body a little more stable. The key is to not let the side hip sink as you kick the leg forward.

14. Side Plank Lift and Lower. With your elbow on the Bosu, lower and lift your hips keeping your torso tight and stable. You can also hold a light weight in the reaching hand for added resistance.

15. PiYo Shoot Through. This is a tough move to master. You must stay low to the ground as your leg shoots through and use your core to balance on one foot and one hand.

16. Side Plank Punch. Keep the core stable and don’t let the hip fall to the ground. Punch straight out and in with a light weight. This can be done on the elbow too.

17. TRX Single Leg Burpee with Push-Up. A very challenging plank move that involves having to hold one leg completely stable in a plank as you do a push-up. The jump at the end adds tremendous intensity too!

18. TRX Frog Legs. Do this move by bringing the knees in as close to the chin as possible before straddling out the legs and back to plank position.

19. TRX Tuck to Straddle. Any time you use the TRX you will definitely be using your core. This move engages the core twice with first the tuck and then holding the plank while straddling.

20.Down Dog, Plank, Tricep Push-up. Three moves in one and you get the added benefit of sculpting the triceps along the way. The plank to tricep push-up makes this move definitely challenging.

I hope you find these exercises helpful and that you will put them to use!

Need a coach for your next iron distance event? Shoot me an email HERE for a free 15 minute call and I will give you all the scoop!

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

ACSM Personal Trainer

USA Cycling Coach Level 3


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