PLANKIN’ TO THE EXTREME! A “Push Yo-self”challenge.
The plank is THE ”do it anywhere” total body move that everyone should learn how to master. It’s versatile and can help you strengthen your core, glutes, quads, shoulders and chest while improving your balance. While yogis may have the plankin’ edge, there’s lots of room to play to make it more (or less) challenging. If you’ve got the basic plank DOWN, it’s time to try some harder variations my friend.
This is a 6 Part Plank Variation combo that I use to challenge myself at home. It’s tough, but do-able with some practice!
Goal: Using as many VARIATIONS as you can, try to hold each part for 30-60 seconds per side.
My personal challenge is always to hold each part of the combo as I move into the next, but you can tap down and rest in between if you need to. (6 minutes is a LONG time to hold plank, but broken up into sections gives some parts of your body a chance to rest).
Beginners: choose only the parts you are able to do (which may just be the plank & pushup) and work up to holding them for 30-60 seconds. Intermediate/advanced exercisers: work up to doing all 6 variations. They’re TOUGH y’all. Most people can only manage the first three after a lot of practice.
Tips: for most of these moves, you can opt to be on your forearms instead. If you’re struggling, try to tighten your core and quads to help with stabilization. Work up through the modifications: some may be too challenging right now and that’s okay!
1. Plank. Start in a basic plank position, the top of a pushup. Shoulders over hands, quads contracted, abs pulled in tight and butt down. Think about getting your shoulders, hips and ankles to form a straight line.
2. Tricep Pushup. Bring your arms in close to your body as you lower down towards the floor: think about scraping them along your torso and using the back of your arms to push up. Tip: try to push the floor away from you instead of lifting up from it. Beginners: you can perform this move on your knees instead.
*No need to hold this move. Just throw in 1-5 reps before moving on.
3. Side Plank. Start in basic plank, then rotate your belly button out to the side, keeping one arm on the ground (hand aligned with shoulders) and one arm extended up in the air or on your hips. You can opt to stack your feet one on top of the other, or stagger your top foot in front of the bottom foot for a wider base. Keep that straight line & try not to let your hips sag down. Beginners: bend at the knee on the bottom leg and straighten the top leg. Slightly easier.
4. Side Plank With Leg Lift. Maintaining side plank position, lift your top leg up towards the sky. You may need to move your bottom leg so that your weight is equally balanced: this is a tough move. Extend your arm up towards the sky with your leg and hold. Beginners: keep your lower leg bent at the knee and lower on to your forearm instead of your hand.
5. 90 Degree Side Plank. Replace your top leg to the ground & extend your bottom leg out in front of you (like a front kick). This variation REALLY works your inner thighs & core. Try to flex your foot and straighten the leg as you lift up and avoid swaying as much as you can. Hold.
6. 90 Degree Side Plank Toe Touch. Same form as the 90 degree side plank, but this time take your top hand and reach it towards your extended foot. You can opt to hold it there, or do some crunches by drawing the foot & hand back and forwards for a few reps.
GOAL: Try to complete as many variations as you can per side. (30-60 seconds each).