Plank variants: The best and most effective exercises for your home workout at a glance!
Training your entire body effectively in just a few minutes a day – just sounds too good to be true. However, this is absolutely possible with the Plank exercise. Planks, also known as forearm support, are among the most effective full-body exercises without weights at all. They can be carried out practically anywhere, no special equipment is required and offer a lot of health benefits. Another advantage of the exercise is that, depending on the level of difficulty and variations, it is ideal for both beginners and advanced. So that your home workout never gets boring, we show you in this article some of the most effective plank variants with which you can train different muscle groups in a targeted manner.
The forearm support is a classic static exercise or in other words – the muscles are trained without moving your body. Abdominal muscles and the back are particularly stressed, but you can also use planking to train your shoulder muscles, upper back, chest muscles, buttocks and thigh muscles. 8 hours 15 minutes and 15 seconds – that's how long the 62 year old George Hood held the plank position and set a new world record. But don't worry – even with 5 to 10 minutes a day, you can also benefit from the many advantages of the plank and tighten your body.
Plank variants for more variety in the training routine
Before we start with the different plank variants, we first explain how the classic forearm support actually works.
- At the classic plank lie on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart and feet shoulder-width apart. Now either support yourself on the elbows for low plank or stretch your arms and take up the push-up position for high plank.
- Walking plank is an effective way to train the shoulder, buttocks and stomach simultaneously. It starts in the low plank position – position your feet tightly and tighten your stomach. Now put your hands up and go into the high plank position. Try to change the guide arm from time to time – i.e. start with the left and once with the right. When doing this, make sure that you do not rotate the body and keep a straight line. Another option for the walking plank is with your feet. Simply move your feet back and forth – your thighs are still being trained. Try to do about 4 sets of 15 reps.
Depending on the level of difficulty, the forearm support is suitable for beginners and professionals
- Classic low plank with rotation at home promotes concentration and balance and is more suitable for advanced users. To increase the level of difficulty, you are welcome to use light weights of 1 to 3 kilograms. It starts again from the classic low plank position. Now stretch one arm, lift it off the floor and then lead it upwards in a semicircle. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the other. Do 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions per arm.
- Plank variants with turning train especially the lateral abdominal muscles and the buttocks. Here, too, the low plank is the starting position. And now alternately lower and lift your hips left and right. However, make sure that you do not touch the floor and that your stomach remains tense all the time. Do 4 sets of 20 reps.
The forearm support is the most effective full body exercise ever and can be done anywhere.
- Side plank exercise also specifically targets the lateral abdominal muscles and can be carried out in many different ways. It is started from the side and supported on the ground with one hand. Stretch your legs together and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line. It becomes even more difficult if you dynamically raise and lower your hips from this position. Or work out your balance and try to raise your upper leg slightly.
- Lift side plank with arm and leg – Lie on your side and go to the side plank position. Now slowly lift your upper leg and arm at the same time and slowly lower them again. In order for the plank exercise to be effective, it is important to ensure that it is executed properly and correctly. With the side forearm support, it is particularly important to ensure that the hip does not tip down, back or front. Start with 6-8 repetitions per side.
- Side plank variants with one leg are very tiring, but also much more effective for losing weight on the belly than the classic crunches and sit-ups. This trains the lateral abdominal muscles, buttocks and arms. Now go to the side plank position and stretch your upper arm. Then slowly pull the upper knee towards the chest as far as possible and lower it again. Do 4 sets of 10-12 reps each side.
- Plank exercise with knees above the floor – Go to the classic low plank position and slowly move your knees towards the floor, but do not touch it. The exercise can be done in two ways – either kneeling over the floor and trying to hold the position for at least 30 seconds, or slowly moving your knees down and then back up.
- Plank variants for more balance are only carried out with 3 bases. To do this, start from the classic low plank position and put your feet a little wider than your hips. Now place either your right or left hand on your back and hold for at least 30 seconds. Another option would be to lift one leg slightly off the floor instead of the hand. Make sure that your hips are stable and your body stays in a straight line.
- Plank variants with shoulder contact – During this exercise, you need to make sure that the abdomen and core muscles remain tense and stable. Take the high plank position and lift your left hand off the floor. Now touch the right shoulder with this and return to the starting position. Then carry out the movement with the other hand. Try doing 4 sets of 10 reps per hand.
- Plank exercise on the chair or sofa – By raising the legs, the lower abs and buttocks are trained and the exercise becomes even more strenuous. Now either put your feet on the chair or the sofa and go into the high plank position. To make the exercise a little more interesting and difficult, you can alternately pull your legs towards your chest or do the upper variant with the shoulder touch.
- X Plank is a particularly intense and strenuous exercise that trains the shoulders and back. Start in the classic low plank position. Make your legs a little wider than your hips and put your arms above your shoulders. In this exercise, the body must look up like an X from above. Tense your stomach and buttocks and hold the position as long as possible.
- Reverse plank exercise is also known as an inverted forearm support and is particularly good for the muscles in the lower back, thighs and buttocks. A properly executed reverse plank can also relieve back pain. Leg by sitting on the floor with your legs straight. Support your hands under your shoulders, then push up and lift your body off the floor until it forms a straight line from head to toe.
- Raise reverse plank with leg – This is probably one of the most difficult plank variants known, but it is incredibly effective. Now go into the reverse plank position and bend your knees – they should look like a table. Now alternately stretch your legs up as high as possible. Try to start with about 5-6 repetitions per leg.
- Plank with resistance band – Fitness exercises with resistance bands are always very popular. Put a mini fitness band directly over your wrists and take up the classic high plank position. Now step as far as possible to the left with your left hand, hold briefly and return. Do 4 sets with about 8-10 repetitions per side.
- Side plank walk – Start in Low Plank with your hands under your shoulders. And now caution is required – at the same time, cross your right hand over your left as you step left with your left foot. Then step left with your left hand and right foot at the same time so that you are back in the plank position. A repeat consists of 5 steps to the left and 5 steps to the right.
- Plank exercise with jump is a dynamic plank variant that can make you sweat a lot and stimulates fat burning. Jump from the low plank position with your feet towards the outside of your hands and then hop back – that counts for one repetition. Do 4 sets of 10 reps. Another option would be to jump alternately to the left and right side, keeping your feet close together.
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