This 5-Part Plank Sequence Will Make Your Abs Beg For Mercy
You may have noticed planks landing a starring role in many of your fitness classes recently. Everything from boxing to barre to yoga seems to be big on planking these days. And we’re not talking about a simple one-and-done hold. But rather, a multi-dimensional plank circuit.
While a plank sequence may seem like your instructor’s cruel way of inflicting agony on your body, it’s actually for your own good—planks are a crazy-effective way to tone your core—and the rest of your body, too. “Plank workouts are an efficient way to hit all your muscle groups, and you can layer in added movements to specifically target areas you want to strengthen,” explains yoga instructor, and studio manager at CorePower Yoga, Chelsea Scott. In fact, she loves featuring a plank challenge of her own during her “Yoga Sculpt” classes for that very reason.
Here, Scott demos her go-to, five-part plank circuit. “This [circuit] is targeted at full-body engagement,” Scott says. “It engages all layers of core muscles, plus it stabilizes your shoulders.” Plus, the forearm rock forward and back, forearm knee tap, and forearm hip dip planks all focus on not only building central core stability and strength, but also adding extra engagement of the obliques, Scott notes. The forearm heel lift is for hamstrings engagement, and, last but not least, the forearm plank jack adds a cardio burst.
To really see some core-strengthening results, Scott recommends completing 16 to 32 reps of each part of the plank sequence, three to five times a week.
Check out the video above for Scott’s demo, or check out each section of this challenging plank series below.
Forearm Rock Forward And Bak
Get in a forearm plank position, with your elbows stacked directly underneath your shoulders and palms flat on the ground. From here, shift your body forward a couple of inches, without moving your hands or feet, then return back to your original position. That’s one rep. Be sure to keep your body level, and core stabilized.
Forearm Knee Tap
From a forearm plank position, bend your right knee until it nearly touches the ground. Return to the original position as you bend your left knee. That’s one rep.
Forearm Hip Dip
Start in a forearm plank position. Make sure your abs are tight and you’re squeezing your butt. Slowly dip right hip to right side until hips are about one inch off the ground. Return to center, then repeat on the other side. Continue alternating.
From a forearm plank position, lift one leg into the air, with your foot flexed. Lift it a couple inches higher than your shoulders, then return back to the ground. Be sure to engage your obliques to keep your body from twisting. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
From a forearm plank position, jump your feet out to a wide V, then jump them back in again. That’s one rep.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com