There are a few more methods you can use to improve or get the most out of your planks. Last month I wrote about how to do a regular plank, what time lengths to look for. I also discussed getting in the plank position, and slowly moving, raising and dropping your hips, to whatever is comfortable for you, so you can see what engages your abs.
Alternative Plank Methods
While in the regular plank position, your toes touching your hands together and elbows laid down on the floor, you can alternate bringing up each of your legs to the opposite elbow. So, while laying down, bring your knee up to your chest and toward your opposite hand. You don’t need to hold that position, you may for a second or two, whatever feels comfortable to you. When you’ve brought your knee up, you can bring it back and get back in the original plank position.
After you’ve returned to the regular plank position, bring your other knee up to your chest and toward your opposite elbow. Hold if you’d like, and return your feet back, and get back into your original plank position.
This is the method. From here, you can alternate, bringing each leg up, and then back down, followed by the next leg.
As far as how you’ll gauge how many you’ve done, I would suggest that the first time you do it, you should see how many you can do comfortably. Depending on how zealous you are about how you workout, this could be until you cannot stand it anymore, or really, you should watch out to make sure your posture is ok. It is important that you don’t let your back arch and droop down, as that is not a proper plank and could give you a sore back.
Push Up Planks
Here is another plank idea. While in the plank position, climb up to a push up position (with your arms fully extended, still flat), then climb back down with your elbows against the ground. To climb up, you’ll have to go with one of your arms first. I like to alternate which arm goes first in different sets.
Another trick is to add a medicine ball to the mix. With a medicine ball you can go one step further: from plank, to push up position, up again.
Once in push up position, climb up again and balance your hands on the medicine ball. From there, climb back down to push up, back to plank.
This method is best to do under the supervision of a personal trainer.