- Do you perform the plank exercise on a regular basis?
- When performing the plank exercise do you focus on the length of time to gauge intensity?
- Is your plank variation causing you to bleed power during the movement?
If you regularly include the plank exercise into your training then today I want to offer a different perspective on how you can shift your focus when utilizing this movement for strength. One common issue with many people when performing certain strength movements is the inability to stabilize the core during certain points of physical exertion. If you’re unable to properly activate your core center then you’re going to bleed power as you go to exert yourself for various movements and activity. This is why the plank exercise can be of great value and today I want to point to three ways you can use the plank to make sure you don’t bleed strength.
Effective Plank Exercise
First, when performing any strength movement to achieve a certain outcome you want to understand the objectives. What are you trying to achieve with “X”movement? What is the goal of the particular exercise? What should you do to ensure you are working to achieve the main objective?
With that being said this is why I wanted to offer a bit of a different perspective on how you might want to perform the plank exercise because the objectives for today involve strength and stability. With that being said I’m going to offer up some unique plank variations here to help you maximize your outcome of obtaining those objectives.
1) High tension plank:
In the video this might look like a normal plank to you , but I assure it is not. Keep in mind that the definition of strength is your muscle’s ability to produce tension and force for a given movement. Therefore the more tension you create and exert from your working muscles the more strength you will derive from those muscles.
This is why I prefer the high tension plank over those long timed planks that people have most often used at the end of a day’s training where they’re in a plank for minutes at a time.
The goal of the high tension plank here is to produce as much muscular tension as possible. I do this by depressing my shoulder girdle and pulling my knee caps up tightening my thighs and glutes once in the horizontal plank position.
Essentially I’m pulling everything in towards the center of my body rooting myself in to be as stiff and rigid as possible. Because you want to create as much tension as possible from doing this you won’t be able to sustain long enduring planks that last for minutes on end. Perform sets of 15 to 30 seconds at a time.
The point here is to create tension. This tension comes from you learning how to activate your core center and to draw in your shoulders and thighs forcing yourself to brace. Bracing is the key to building strength from the plank so that you can withstand other major lifts and movements.
2) Plank dumbbell drag:
The plank dumbbell drag is a hell of a way to give your plank exercise an upgrade. With this variation you have to maintain a rigid plank position while dragging a dumbbell (or kettlebell) back and forth across your body. As if the drag isn’t challenging enough the objective here is to resist the urge to twist your hips as you lift one arm to drag the dumbbell across.
This resistance towards twisting, or anti-pattern movement is what causes you to really brace your midsection and your legs. As you move the dumbbell you’ll notice that the line of tension from your grounded arm runs diagonally from your shoulder through your midsection to your opposite grounded foot. This is where you’ll achieve some serious core activation.
Perform 3 sets of 5 drags on each side as a good finisher to activate your core for more stability.
3) Plank to push-up:
I’m going to warn you that this plank variation is a hell of a challenge. In fact, the only way you can truly pull this one off is by producing significant tension and core stability by bracing and maintain complete rigidity and control over your body.
This plank variation is significantly more advanced, but once you’re able to perform it (without cheating it) you can rest assured that you’re capable of producing significant core stability.
The reason this plank variation is such a challenge is because you must be capable of slightly rocking your chest out over your forearms and with very little help with momentum and leverage produce the strength and power to spring up into an upright push-up position. This requires significant control over your body.
Once in the push-up position go ahead and bang one out. Perform 3 sets of 5 to finish out your day’s training for optimal core stability.
Plank Exercise: The Takeaway
When performing the plank make sure you focus on the element of tension instead of time to maximize strength and to reinforce the act of bracing.
Are you currently using the plank exercise in your training?
Have you ever attempted any of these plank variations in your own training?
Post up and share in the comments here below.
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