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.
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.