With pandemic restrictions lifting over the past few months, you may have found it hard to stick to your lockdown workout schedule. Fortunately, there are time-efficient ways to build a stronger core.
It's worth building the best workouts for abs into your weekly workout routine, but there's another plank variation that increases the intensity and helps you focus on your form.
Although it looks a lot like a standard elbow plank, the hardstyle plank works muscles across your body by getting you to tense your shoulders, core, and legs.
While your forearms stay fixed in position on the floor, you want to feel like you're dragging your elbows towards your feet to create even more tension throughout your body.
By tucking in your hips, you move your abs into a sit-up style position that'll generate a burn in a shorter time than a standard plank. Likewise, placing your feet together helps build stability.
Watch how to perform a hardstyle plank
Because it's so intense, you won't be able to hold the hardstyle plank for as long. It'll be between 10 and 30 seconds for most people for 5-6 rounds, but the move has a significant core-building ability.
This variation on the staple exercise works your whole body but emphasizes your entire mid-body area, so you can efficiently build core muscle. This mid-body muscle plays a vital role in our overall strength and fitness.
While six-pack abs are visually appealing, strong abdominal muscles can improve your posture, sports performance, and promote good circulation. Researchers found (opens in new tab) that you can start to see improvements after just four weeks of training, too.
Similarly, there's plenty of evidence that a more developed core can reduce chronic pain, with one study (opens in new tab) finding that it can lead to significant improvements for those with long-term back pain.
It's not the only variation out there, though. Learning how to do a plank can help If you're looking to perfect your form and shake up your routine, plus there are several styles for you to try.
Using one of the best abs rollers in combination with these moves can boost the core-building potential of your workout. These affordable wheels allow you to fit in abs exercise wherever you are.
James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.