Build core strength faster (and without weights) with these four plank variations
The plank is a classic exercise, but you can keep things interesting and engage your core with these four alternatives
There's a reason that the plank is such a staple of most exercises routines. The no-equipment-move strengthens your core, and all you need to do is hold the pose for a short while to see the benefits.
But, we'll admit, unrolling your yoga mat then staying put for 60 seconds or more can be a bit, well, boring. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can make this move more fun while still building a solid midsection.
This Pilates routine from instructor Georgia Weibel (@PilateswithGeorgia) proves just how versatile the plank can be, using four dynamic variations to provide a comprehensive core workout for beginners and experienced exercisers.
To give it a go, perform each exercise eight times, one after the other. If you don't have much time, you can leave it there for a short core session. Or, if you're not in a rush, you can try repeating this sequence three times for a slightly longer workout.
Watch Weibel's video below to find out more about the four plank variations, and take note of her form to help you perform each one with the correct technique.
Watch Pilates With Georgia’s abs workout
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If these moves look quite tricky to begin with, you can use our handy guide to learn how to do a plank.
Practicing the standard plank will help you build the core strength and shoulder stability you need to perform these four variations, preparing you to tackle Weibel's workout in full.
When you're doing the plank, or any variation of it, try to think about squeezing your core. This can increase activity in the muscles you're focusing on through something called mind-muscle connection, which will help develop strength in this area by making sure the targeted muscles are the ones actually being worked.
Pilates is a great way to improve mind-muscle connection because it’s a mindful way to work out. Weibel encourages you to move slowly and intentionally, controlling each movement rather than rushing through repetitions.
Pilates and yoga are often called moving meditations, as the focus on your body keeps your mind in the present. It's a lot like learning how to meditate, although you also strengthen your muscles while holding the poses.
This is why yoga and meditation are some of the top self care ideas you can do without breaking the bank. Although exercise is usually a means to an end, a mindful session can be just as good for your mind as your body.
Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.
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