The Plank is one of the fundamental exercises for testing abdominal strength and endurance throughout the fitness industry.
It is an isometric exercise (meaning that your muscles neither lengthen or shorten during the exercise) and is preformed in a static position (no movement). Although this exercise is predominantly used to target the abs, its difficulty comes with the activation of a number of muscles working the entire body.
Start in a four point kneeling position with your shoulders over your hands and hips over your knees. We start here to first find neutral spine alignment (flat back).
- Engage your abdominals by lifting your belly button up to support your spine.
- Drop down on to your elbows (making a triangle with your arms for added support) and lift the knees off of the mat so your weight goes through your toes and balls of the feet. You may have to take a few steps back with both feet to ensure you have a straight line between your shoulders and your feet.
- Hold. If you wish to make it easier then drop back down to your knees to do a half plank.
- Inhale to prepare, and exhale to activate the core and hold.
- Take nice and controlled deeps breaths throughout the hold and use the outbreath to re-activate the core contraction.
Start out with 2-3 sets of 30secs and increase time as desired by 15secs each attempt.
- Raise one leg for 10-20secs and alternate throughout exercise.
- Come up on your hands for a high plank (push up position). This adds more difficulty to the upper body.
To add KX intensity to the exercise, go into a plank push up. Hold in high plank for 5-10 secs and then drop down to low plank (on elbows) for 5-10sec. Repeat the exercise until your desired time is up.
Aaron Smith is the CEO & Founder – KX Group. KX is a boutique fitness company with 17 studios across Melbourne and Sydney, offering dynamic pilates, barre and yoga. KX also run international retreats to Vanuatu and Bali.
Model: Cherida Forde, KX International Retreats Trainer.