If you want to power up the plank position (and I don’t mean the laying on inanimate objects and taking pictures kind), try these 5 ways to challenge your abs like they have never been challenged before! If you are bored with your current ab routine or feel you are no longer making progress, this will be the perfect way to mix things up!
From the normal plank position, raise yourself onto your hands so that you are in a starting press up position. From here, raise your right hand to touch your left shoulder. Place your right hand back on the floor and immediately lift your left hand to touch your right shoulder. Continue this as fast as possible. Try timing yourself for 2 minutes and see how many repetitions you can do during that time.
You can also try moving shoulder taps as part of an agility circuit. Using a rope ladder, move laterally along by switching your hands beneath you in and out of each ladder step. For example, if you want to move left start with your right arm, tap your left shoulder and then place your right hand next to the left on the floor. Pick up your left hand tap your right shoulder and place it down in the next ladder step.
Begin this exercise in a plank position bearing weight on your hands. From here, lift your right knee towards the back of your left arm. If you can tap your elbow with your knee, then you have great flexibility. If not, aim to get as close as possible before you return your foot to the ground. Switch legs and see how many reps you can do in 1 minute! This is a great advancement on shoulder taps and you will soon ‘feel the burn’ with this exercise.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand in your starting plank position. Supporting all of your weight on one hand, lift the opposite arm (with weight) towards your chest to complete one row. You can alternate with each rep or do 8 reps on each side before switching. The quicker you alternate, the better it will be for your core because you will have to contract the core to maintain balance across the range of movement.
The reverse plank is the complete opposite of the regular plank (as the name suggests). Lay on your back and then prop yourself up on your elbows or hands. Lift your body off the floor so that you are in a straight line. You will have to use your glutes to maintain this position correctly. Once you are in the optimal position, begin by lifting one knee towards your chest. The closer you can get your knee to your chest, the better!
You can either hold this leg here and pulse out the reps or you can alternate as you would with the resistance rows. If you do this correctly, you will feel your abs burning quite quickly. Don’t compensate by adjusting your body alignment when this happens, push through and it will do wonders for your abs!
Side planks are more difficult than a normal plank for most people. Choose the side you want to begin with. Prop yourself up onto your elbow (making sure your elbow is directly beneath your shoulder) and then lift your body off of the floor. Again you are aiming for straight alignment. If you want to make this more difficult you can introduce a dumbbell into the exercise. Keeping your free arm straight at all times, lift it from the side of your body until your arm is pointing toward the ceiling, then lower. Slow and controlled movements are optimal. Aim for 10-15 reps on each side. You should always aim to hold a plank position for at least one minute!
This is an extremely difficult exercise to do and if you have never tried it I would recommend beginning with your knees on the floor in a half press-up position. Hold onto the ab roller with both hands, ensuring you start with your hands directly below your shoulders. Roll the ab roller away from your body as far as you can without dropping your body to the floor. Aim to maintain a straight body position at all times to avoid back injury. Then slowly roll back towards your body to the beginning position. If you have very strong abs already, try this from a full press-up position.
If after all this hard work you are finding it difficult to strip away the layers of fat to show off your strong abs, try a fat burning supplement like Maximuscle Thermobol or Xl Nutrition Xtra Lean. Both of these products contain ingredients to increase metabolism helping you to mobilise and burn unwanted fat stores!