Fitness

A Plank A Day..

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A plank a day keeps the doctor away!

Planks are probably one of my favorite exercises. Not only do they work our core, they can teach us how to move with an active, stable core. Not to mention they also are great for our shoulders, hips, legs, and posture.

Another great thing about them? You can pretty much do them anywhere, anytime.

In honor of this fantastic exercise, here are my top 10 favorite variations. Add in at least one a day and see what happens!

  1. Plank Step-Outs– These no only work the core, but they work in the hip stabilizers as well. Super important for postural stability, no matter what activity you enjoy best! Important things to remember, don’t let the hips move as you step each leg out. Activate the core and only move the legs!
  2. Chatarunga Planks/Sun Salutations– A HUGE favorite of mine! With variations to make this accessible to everyone, no matter your fitness level, these are an EXCELLENT way to start the day, or wind down. They incorporate full body movement, dynamic stability, arm strength, shoulder and core activation.. you name it, you’ll find it in your chatarunga. I like to start my days with a few of these!
  3. Side Plank w/Dips – Excellent for the side-body and hips. Feel the burn with these ones!
  4. Single Leg Plank Walk-Outs– If you’ve ever trained with me, you’ll know I like to throw these in just when you think I’m going to have mercy. Practice your balance, hip hinging, and overall stability with these walk-outs!
  5. Three-Legged Dog to Plank Crunch– Another total body burn. Feel your shoulders work as you transition in and out of down dog, and feel your core work as you crunch your leg into your arm during the plank phase. My closet yogi comes out again here!
  6. Pike Plank– Using a exercise ball, OR a towel under your feet on a hardwood floor, draw your feet up into a pike. This will challenge your upper body stability, core stability, and hips! If you’re not up the the full version yet, use a ball and draw it in and out with your feet, bending at the knees vs. the hips!
  7. Shoulder Dust Off Planks– Simple enough, right? Dust those shoulders off but keep those hips still!
  8. Renegade Rows– The hips stay still rule applies here too, as you row with whatever weight suits you. While the arms work- the core has to work too to ensure the rest of the body stays stable. Adjust your feet wide to aide in this.
  9. Side Plank w/ Reverse Flies– Core and arms all in one! Establish your side-plank and then add in the arm movement!
  10. Rotary Plank– a favorite for teaching core activation! There’s a few important progressions to do until you know how to control your stability to make sure you don’t use your hips as momentum for the full movement. Starting people on the wall is usually my go to, but this is a great way to progress as well! This one takes lots of practice!!

So.. what’s your favorite way to get your plank in??

Kathlyn Hossack

A long time equestrian, holder of a BSc. in Kinesiology, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I specialise in helping riders (and all sorts of athletes) understand their bodies and improve their movement potential.

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