Get Your Plank On! this #fitnessfriday with Phil Ortwein

Summer weather has arrived. And with it so have client’s requests to focus on abs. One of the most effective core exercises is the ever popular PLANK.  With so many challenging variations, one version of this exercise should be a staple in every workout.

Why are planks all the rage? The basic plank specifically engages a muscle called the transverse abdominis (TVA), which is responsible for maintaining a flat stomach. Who needs more convincing than that!

Depending on what plank variation you do you can also engage your shoulders, arms, back, glutes and hamstrings. Win!

How To Get It Right: Basic Plank

  • IMG_20160525_122045Lie face down on the ground, placing elbows directly under shoulders, feet hip width apart
  • Lift your body in the air, keeping a flat back
  • Engage your core and don’t forget to breathe. To start try holding the plank for 30 seconds
  • If 30 seconds is getting easy challenge yourself up to 1 minute

The Side Plank is a core killer

  • IMG_20160525_122132_editAlign your elbow directly under your shoulder
  • Stack legs on top of one another, or place top leg in front to provide more stability
  • Make sure your shoulder is stable, you may feel muscle burn but it shouldn’t be painful (save the pain for your obliques!)
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides

Plank Reach is another variation for a more advanced challenge

  • IMG_20160525_122520Start in the basic plank position
  • Place object one foot in front of you, maintain your position while you reach one arm out to tap the object
  • Alternate arm reaches, challenge yourself to 30 reaches
  • In order to maximize core benefit, prevent your hips from twisting as you reach forward. Keep your back flat as if you are balancing a glass of water.

An example of a challenging core set would be doing these three plank variations back to back. Are you shaking yet?! Feeling the burn?! Take a 30 second break and repeat!

Want even more plank variations???

straight arm plank, modified plank, thread the needle, up / downs, elbow touch, two point plank, plank jacks, plank with opposite limb extension, plank with side snatch …. we could go on!!


For tips on proper technique on these other variations please feel free to contact Phil, owner of Philosophy Fitness at 416.509.9146 or visit at 575 St. Clair Avenue West.

OR visit Facebook Philosophy Fitness – St. Clair West for more health and fitness news.