Кві 13

Side Plank


If holding the classic plank for at least 3 minutes is not a problem for you (make sure, you’re doing it with correct technique) – you can differ your training program and work better on oblique abdominals, by doing the side plank. In this exercise part of the load is taken off the spine, so even those, who has been recovering from injuries and feel discomfort in lower back when doing the classic plank, can do it.
What muscles work: oblique abdominals, buttock muscles, erector spine muscles.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying on the side, leaning on one hand’s pre-shoulder and opposite leg’s foot (for right hand – on left and the other way round). At the starting position shoulder joint should be right above the elbow, pre-shoulder of the base hand – perpendicular to body. Using your muscles hold the whole body straight (photo 1). Having fixed the position, hold it for required time, after that go back to the starting position and repeat the exercise switching hand and leg.
Side plank
Notice: do not lean on foot, that is at the bottom – contact area will be less, which leads to sliding, just put it on base leg’s foot. Watch the body position, don’t let lower back bend or lean front or back. Avoid bending your knees, keep them straight using buttock and hip muscles. Spread shoulders, stretch hands by the body, put on belt, raise up or behind your head (two last variations make the exercise a little bit harder, so raise the load gradually). Don’t bend your neck, you should look forward (on base hand’s pre-shoulder). If you are exercising on hard floor – put something soft under your base hand (for example, several times bent towel). Gradually raise time of holding the side plank to 3 minutes.
If it’s difficult for you to perform the side plank in classic look, try to lower the load by changing body tilt angle – at the starting position lean not on pre-shoulder, but on straighten hand (photo 2). While doing this, the main rules stay the same: all the three joints (wrist, elbow and shoulder) are situated one above another, base hand should be perpendicular to the floor, whole body is held maximum straight, without bends, hangouts or front-back leans. You can regulate the load by inactive hand and leg position: firs, situate them parallel to the floor, but gradually raise them higher (you can put the hand behind your head).
Side plank leaning on palm
The other variation of lightened side plank is the emphasis lying on one pre-shoulder and one calf (photo 3). Lower load is reached by reduced participating body length. For the starting position bend the base leg in knee and put it so that knee joint was an the base hand elbow joint’s level. Using your muscles straighten the body and hold for the required time. Hold to the main side plank rules, written above. You can hold an inactive leg bent in knee or straighten (that is a little harder, but gives the additional load on inactive hip muscles).
Side plank leaning on calf
If you have mastered variations, suggested here and can hold the classic side plank at least 3 minutes, you can try complicader variation, providing more horizontal body position. To perform this exercise you will need a 20-30 cm pillar. Stand in the emphasis lying, as for side plank, but put the opposite leg’s foot on the pillar. Straighten body using muscles and hold for required time (photo 4). The core should be straight, do not let your lower back bend inside or outside, as well as tilting forward or backward. Watch your breath, don’t hold it, try to breathe rhythmically. Since the elbow joint gets increased pressure – put something soft under it (for example, bent towel).
Side plank with legs raised
When you master this kind of plank (can hold the position at least 3 minutes), try to complicate the performance a little more, by putting legs on an unstable pillar – for example, ball. You can also change the load with inactive leg’s position, rising it up or even aside (which requires additional force to hold the balance). It will be difficult, but this is pro level. I’m sure you can do it!


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

Опубліковано у Plank
Кві 13

Three-point Plank


In this variation of plank the load is regulated by reducing the number of standing points (at the beginning – three, on advanced levels – two). To avoid the imbalance in different muscle groups, you should alternate standing points when performing one exercise, as well as doing several sets of plank, using different standing points.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying, as for classic plank (on pre-shoulders and feet finger pads). Having fixed this position, get one hand off the floor and straighten before you or aside. Hold the position for required time, then go back to the starting position and switch hand.
In case if you get off one leg, you can lift it above the floor (photo) or put on base leg (this is a bit easier). Having held the pose for required time, switch legs and continue the exercise till the end.
Plank (complicated variation, with leg raised)
Notice: since you take off one standing point, the probability of the core curvature might appear, not only in horizontal, but in vertical plane too – this should be avoided. Remember: plank becomes high effective exercise only when your body straight. Avoid swinging or bending your back in the moment when you switch standing points, always fix the classic position for few seconds (to control the correctness of performing the exercise) between the standing point switches. Gradually rise the fixation time on each of 3 standing points to 1 minute (duration of entire exercise in this case will be about 4,5 minutes). To complicate the exercise you can try to put an inactive hand behind your back and rise an inactive leg higher (but don’t bend it in knee).
When you reach required level in this kind of plank, consider yourself as a high class professional. Still, it is not he edge – you can remove another standing point. In this case we will perform two-point plank.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying on pre-shoulders and feet finger pads, as for classic plank. Using core and leg muscles hold your body straight, get one hand and leg, diagonal to it, off the floor (for example, right hand and left leg or left hand and right leg) (photo). Hold for required time, go back to the starting position and repeat the exercise with standing point switched.
Notice: while performing this kind of plank you should especially watch the pelvis position – it should not bend down or stick up, your back should not move aside. Do not try to perform the two-point plank if you did not master enough all the previous kinds of exercises – the effect will be much worse than expected because of bad technique. Keep your muscles always tensed – this will help you to avoid swinging in switching moment. Do not let your base leg knee bend. Gradually rise the performance time of each position to 2 minutes (summary time to perform this kind of plank – 4 minutes). If you are exercising on hard floor – put a bent towel under your elbows or use gymnastic carpet.
I’m sure that you have managed to pass all the described levels of performing this easy, but unbelievably effective exercise and rose the time of two-point plank to 5 minutes. That is why I prepared a little surprise for you: it turns out that it is not the most difficult variation of plank. In his book “Training Zone 1. Secret System of Physical Training” Paul Wade writes, that the real plank is done on two standing points, but those points are hands. How? Look at the photo. If you would like to master this kind of plank – wait for the article, yet – continue to train in usual mode. Because to perform the plank on two hands you will need not only strong muscles of whole body, but also the perfect sense of balance. Have a good training!


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

Опубліковано у Plank
Кві 13

The Plank with Leg Pillar


If holding the classic plank with perfect technique for 3 minutes is not difficult for you, you can choose from two options of how to raise load:

  • increase the time of exercise (for now, the record of holding the plank is more than an hour), but for the majority this option may be inappropriate because of full employment;
  • try other variations, in which the load increases by more horizontal body position or decreasing the number of standing points,

If you’ve chosen first – there’s only one requirement: watch the technique, bent knees or back immediately lower the efficiency of the exercise. If you decided to test yourself in power variations of plank – read on.

Leg Pillar Plank

Since the main task of all the muscles involved in plank – to hold the body straight, the more horizontal the body (I mean you), the more the muscle load. Some nations have got other variations of plank, on toes and forehead, but we won’t be so extreme (for now) and will use another way to make the body horizontal – a little lift up the legs. As it got from the introduction, the pillar’s height should be enough for your body to be horizontal from heels to back of your head at the starting position (about 20 cm)
What muscles work: rectus and oblique abdominals, big buttock muscle, quadriceps.
Performing the exercise: in the emphasis lying, leaning on pre-shoulders, put your legs on prepared pillar (the distance to the pillar should be so that your arms from elbow to the shoulder were perpendicular to the floor). Using abdominals and legs straighten your body and fix it in horizontal position (photo).
Leg Pillar Plank
Notice: since this is one of the most difficult variations of plank, you should be prepared enough to perform it (the time of performing the classic plank – at least 5 minutes), or the excessive muscle tension will lead to worsened technique. If the pillar is not quite stable – lean it on the wall or some other static object. As in other variations of plank, do not let your back or pelvis bend. Watch your knees not to bend, by using buttock and hip muscles keep them straight. Try not to hold breath, breathe calmly. Don’t tense the neck muscles (look down) at the same time avoid the seduction to put your head on arms. Raise the performance to 3 minutes.
To complicate this kind of exercise you can try to put your legs on an unstable pillar – for example, ball or equalizer.
If you can perform this kind of plank with proper technique for required time – you can raise the time of the exercise or move on to the next level, performing the three-point or two-point plank.


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

Опубліковано у Plank
Кві 13

The Plank for Beginners


If the classic plank (on pre-shoulders and feet finger pads) is difficult for you, I propose you to train easier variations (though they can not be called easy either): leaning on pre-shoulders and knees, and also in classic emphasis lying, leaning on palms and feet finger pads.
If the easiness of the firs variation is obvious (reduced the body length, that is involved in the exercise), the second variation could rather seem more difficult. But that is not true, the difficulty of performing the plank raises as your body closes to horizontal position, so one of the complicated variations of plank is the plank with legs raised (when the body is almost horizontal). But later with that, first let’s master easier variations of plank.

Knee Plank

What muscles work: rectus and oblique abdominals, big buttock muscle, quadriceps.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying, leaning on pre-shoulders and knees (photo 1). Coordinate your body, so that knees and shoulders were on one line. Hold your body straight by using core and leg muscles.
Knee Plank
Notice: in this position your pelvis bends more often than sticks up, but you should avoid both. Look down, to avoid excessive tension of neck muscles. Do not forget  to breathe rhythmically, don’t hold your breathe. Keep your legs together. If you are exercising on hard floor – put small towels under your knees and elbows or use a gymnastic carpet. Gradually make the performance of the exercise to 2 minutes, after that you can move up to the next exercise.

Plank on Palms and Feet Finger Pads

Performing the exercise: stand in the starting position, like for classic push-ups, leaning on palms and feet finger pads (photo 2). All three joints (wrist, elbow and shoulder) should be on one line, hands perpendicular to the floor. Use your buttock and hip muscles, as well as abdominals to hold the whole body straight. Stay in this position for at least 2 minutes.
Plank on Palms
Notice: as you get tired, you can inadvertently start to bend in pelvis, that’s why at first you may need control: ask your relatives to watch you, put a mirror beside you or record your performance on video. If because of lasting standing your wrists start to hurt – try standing on knuckles (previously put something soft, but not slippery), to avoid excessive stretch of wrist’s tendons. Watch your breathe, don’t hold it, though it might become superficial.
If you managed to do several reps of each exercise, described here, at least for 2 minutes – move on to the classic plank.


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.

Опубліковано у Plank
Кві 13

The Plank


It seems, that there is nothing easier: just stand in the emphasis lying, leaning on pre-shoulders and feet finger-pads – and that’s all. Ask your acquaintances, how long can they stand in this position – most of them will answer “even for an hour”. Actually the exercise is not so easy, as it seems. Try it – you will be surprised of how long a minute can be. In 20 seconds, if you do it right, whole body begins to tremble because of tension, to the end of the first minute you will hate the slowness of the second hand, which you used to find runaway fast. You definitely would not hold for more than minute for the first time, but don’t be upset – there are not so many people, even well-trained, in the world, to whom it comes easy. Thanks to its universality and efficiency, this exercise (in different variations) is included to training complexes of different nations. It is called differently, but nowadays the most popular is the variation with French roots – “plank”.
What muscles work: rectus and oblique abdominals, big buttock muscle, quadriceps.
Performing the exercise: stand in the emphasis lying on your pre-shoulders and feet finger pads. Keep your legs together, arms on shoulder-width. Move your body, so that shoulder joints are right above elbow ones. By using core and leg muscles hold entire body in one plane (photo 1). Hold this position for required time.
Plank Notice: the whole body should be straight – this is the main requirement of high performance of the exercise. Use your leg muscles and don’t let your knees bend even a little. The main attention – to the pelvis, by using your hip, buttock and core muscles, do not let it either bend down, or stich up. Don’t hold your breath – breathe calmly and rhythmically, orienting on 4-1-4-1 count (4 seconds inhale, one second pause, 4 exhale and pause again).
You should try to raise your performance time to 3 minutes. If it doesn’t work yet – start from the period, which you can do with correct technique and raise the time gradually or try easier variations of plank (knee plank or plank on palms), descripted in “Plank for Beginners”.
If the standard variation is not a problem for you anymore – it is about time to try yourself in complicated kinds of this exercise: using a pillar for legs, or three-point (even two-point) plank.
For a change you may try to sometimes “dynamize” the classic kind of plank: every 30 seconds make several front-to-back swinging moves with your core, by bending your arms in soulders and elbows, and also rolling on toes (photo 2).
Plank dynamization
Also notice the side plank – performing this exercise takes some load off your back, but the oblique abdominals are worked better.


Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.
 


Other articles about plank:

Plank for beginners: about easy variations of plank, done from knees or standing on palms of straight hands.
Plank with legs raised: using a pillar for legs gives your body more horizontal position and increases the load on main muscles.
Three-point plank: to perform the exercise use only one hand or/and one leg.
Side plank: lower the load on lower back and work better on abdominals.

Опубліковано у Plank