The body’s core is the essential link that connects upper body strength with lower body strength. Maintaining a healthy and strong abdominal and lower back helps enhance stability and prevents common sports injuries in all areas of the body. Plank exercises are a great way to target these core muscles, but most people don’t realize that dynamic plank exercises, or plank exercises that involve some movement, can be done. Here are a four dynamic plank exercises to help involve some movement into your plank core workouts.
Frontal Leg Snow Angels
These exercises are quite similar to a standard plank, but engage lower abdominal muscles with added movement.
- Find a non-carpeted area, like a wood or linoleum floor and get out one large towel or two smaller ones to place beneath your toes. An area where you can lay your forearms on carpet and your toes on a smooth surface works as well.
- Lie on your abdomen and lift your body so only your forearms and toes are touching the floor, just like in a standard plank. Be sure that your toes are close together and your back is flat and isn’t arching.
- Keeping your upper body motionless, slide your toes away from each other along the floor to make the movement you would make while making a snow angel.
- Bring legs back together and repeat the movement ten times.
Frontal Plank Arm Lifts
These might be a bit tricky for those who struggle with pushups, but can be a great way to engage your upper abdominal muscles while doing a variation of the basic plank exercise.
- Get into a standard plank position in a carpeted area or on a yoga mat with your forearms and toes touching the floor with your back straight.
- Lift your right forearm off the ground and push up with your hand until your elbow is straight, then do the same thing with the other arm. Once both elbows are straight, bring your right forearm back to its original position on the floor, and do the same thing with the left forearm.
- Repeat this motion 15 times in a quick succession, take a quick break, and then then do it again 15 more times in reverse direction.
Frontal Planks with Leg and Arm Raises
Again, this is a slight variation of the basic plank exercise that mixes a static exercise with dynamic exercise movements.
- Get into a standard plank position again, with your toes and forearms on a yoga mat or carpet and your back straight. Also grab a stopwatch if you have one available.
- Raise your right forearm and left leg off the ground, count for five seconds, and then switch with your left forearm and right leg off the ground.
- To force your core muscles to stabilize your body and to engage them even more, try to not move your arm or leg away from your body, and try to not lift them off the ground more than an inch.
- Repeat this switch for 30 -90 seconds depending on how tired you feel.
Sideways Hip Lifters
These exercises target your oblique muscles, and add a bit of movement to force your body to stabilize itself, which engages those muscles even more.
- Lie on one side with your forearm on carpet or a yoga mat. Stack your legs on top of one another.
- Raise your body off the ground so only your forearm and the side of your foot are touching the ground. Be sure to form a straight line from your feet to your head without any arches.
- Hold the position for ten seconds, then drop your hips downward towards the carpet. Immediately lift your hips back upwards to the original position and hold for another ten seconds.
- Repeat this movement ten times and switch sides.
To add a degree of difficulty to these exercises, take as little of a break as possible between each exercise to speed up your workout, and burn even more calories.
Charles Janick a health and fitness writer, and loves to find new and creative ways to exercise while having fun. For more information about fitness and health, check out the JGA Network.