When you’re doing a plank, you’re (hopefully) concentrating on your form. Actually performing the exercise correctly is more challenging that just bracing your elbows on the ground and holding yourself up for minutes on end—just take a look at this detailed exercise guide to see exactly what goes into doing the move perfectly.
To make the exercise even more challenging, people usually just add a load to their backs. But there are other ways to push your plank, as Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. helpfully demonstrates with this super challenging ab exercise.
“We normally think of planks in an up-and-down positioning fashion. Is your butt too high? Is your core sagging down?” he says. “And that’s great, but it can often mean we don’t truly generate full-body tension with them, activating only the rectus abdominis and glutes in very sagittal plane fashion. By adding a band set to one side, we force lateral responsibilities, and in doing so, we’re going to push our obliques to function in overdrive.”
The resisted plank stability challenge gives you that push for at least a full minute, along with leveling up as you progress through the drill’s different stages. To take on the exercise, you’ll need a sturdy resistance band, along with a low anchor you can plank near to set it up. If you need a set of bands for home, check out this option from WODFitters.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Attach the band to the anchor, then loop the other end around your waist.
- Get into a good plank position on your elbows, then hold for a 5 second count.
- Rise to pushup position, the hold for a 5 second count.
- Bring the outside knee to your elbow, keeping your form solid otherwise. Hold for another 5 second count.
- Repeat with the inside knee, holding for a 5 count.
- Drop back into an elbow plank, then move further away from the anchor, stretching the band. Brace your glutes and core to stay stable.
- Repeat the whole series above from the new position.
- After completing the series, drop down to your elbow plank and move even further. Finish the exercise with one more go through each part of the series.
Even though the 5 second holds are short, your racking up quite a bit of work time. “Each set of the series includes a full minute of time-under-tension, but it’s all time-under-tension with value,” says Samuel. “After awhile holding a standard plank loses its value, but here, we’re constantly changing the intensity and the balance components of that plank to create challenge.”
For beginners, you’ll be able to scale the drill by working with lighter bands, or even shorter distances from the anchor point. To add the resisted plank stability challenge to your ab workout, take on 2 sets facing the anchor point from each side. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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