Harder Planks: Volume 1

You should already know all about planks and love their core-tightening effects, but after countless sweat-inducing holds, the love-fest fades. Here’s how to add a new twist on the old basic straight-arm and forearm plank.

Clasping your hands in a forearm plank is easier on your abs, but can also cause your shoulders to round, so unclasp your hands for better form and a harder workout.

plank-leg-raise_v3

Get into a forearm or basic (straight-arm) plank position with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your heel. Engage your core and lift one foot off the floor. Hold that position for 60 to 90 seconds and then do a second set with the other leg raised. Alternatively, you can switch legs halfway through each set.

plank-arm-leg-raise

Start in a forearm or basic plank position, then lift your left arm and right leg. Hold for 30 seconds before lowering back down to the starting plank position. Then raise your right arm and left leg and hold for another 30 seconds. Alternate sides for 6 repetitions.

Side-plank-leg-raise

On your side, position yourself on your forearm and the side of your foot. Lift your hips in the air, forming a straight line from your feet to your shoulder. Engage your core and raise your top leg without bending your knee. Hold that position for 60 to 90 seconds and then do a second set on your other side with the other leg raised. Alternatively, you can switch legs halfway through each set. Make sure not to your hips drop during the hold!

side-plank-arm-leg-raise

On your side, place your right forearm on the ground and extend both legs out straight with one leg on top of the other. While balancing yourself, reach your left hand to the ceiling and lift your left leg up just above hip level. Hold for 30 seconds before slowly lowering your arm and leg back to the starting position. Switch sides and repeat with your other arm and leg. Complete 6 repetitions, alternating side each time.

Continue on to page 2 for this infographic…