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10 Plank Variations You Should Try If You’re Tired Of The Standard Plank

10 Plank Variations You Should Try If You’re Tired Of The Standard Plank

Ready to build tight core muscles and reveal a washboard stomach? Look no further than the humble plank exercise. You can forget about performing hundreds of crunches, risking a back or neck injury in the process. Planks have an incredibly low risk of injury and actually help to improve posture.

Better yet, there are countless plank exercise variations to work your muscles harder as your strength progresses. Almost all variations work your midsection, abdominals, obliques, and deep core muscles. Many place secondary tension on arms, shoulders, back, glutes, and even hamstrings.

Ready to chisel out a mighty midsection? Start working your way through these 10 plank exercise variations.

Plank Exercise Progression:

  • Hold plank positions for 20-60 seconds
  • Repeat 3 times with 1 minutes break between each set
  • Push yourself to go 5-10 seconds longer each session
  • When you can, perform a variation for 60 seconds
  • Once you can perform a plank variant for 60 seconds, move on to the next variation
  • Perform workouts 3-5 times per week

1. Plank Jacks

Adding jacks significantly increases the engagement of your abdominal muscles during this exercise. They should be performed from the straight-armed plank position.

Purposefully tighten your core and keep your back in line. Plank jacks should be performed between 20-40 times before moving on to the next plank variation!

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2. Caterpillar Crawl Plank

This move is best performed on a hard and smooth surface using a small towel to reduce friction. Assume the straight-armed plank position with the towel beneath your feet. Begin by crawling forwards then backwards with your arms.

Remember, keep your core tight! This plank exercise will also work your shoulders and triceps!

3. Spiderman Plank

Begin the plank with your forearms parallel to the floor. Draw one knee towards your elbow, getting as close as you can without compromising your body position. Then, push your heel back towards its starting position before repeating on the other side.

There’s no twisting or bending during this exercise, and try not to let your foot touch the floor! Perform between 10-20 times per side and you’ll really feel your abdominals burn!

4. Side Plank

Side planks put greater emphasis on the obliques and deep core muscles. It’s a smaller group of muscles so this move quickly becomes tough. Build up to 30 seconds on each side with a quick transition.

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Keep your body, head, and neck naturally in line while performing this move. Place your other hand on your hip and squeeze your hip muscles to straighten your posture.

5. Decline Plank

This is similar to the regular plank, but with your feet elevated to place greater tension on your upper abs. You could use any secure object, such as a bench, sofa, or table.

Remember to keep that back straight and continue to breathe naturally.

6. Ball Roll Out Plank

This balancing act will greatly stimulate the abdominal and core muscles through stabilization. Begin in the forearm plank position on the ball and push your arms forward to roll the ball slightly. Hold this position for up to 60 seconds, then carefully roll it back.

Find a position that best engages your abs and midsection and remember to breathe naturally.

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7. Leg Lift Plank

From the standard plank position, raise one of your legs behind you while keeping your body parallel to the ground. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds before switching to the other leg for a further 30 seconds.

Keep your body alignment in check and stay parallel with the floor throughout this exercise.

8. Leg and Arm Lift Plank

This is a tougher plank variation performed much like the previous leg lift plank, except you must also lift your opposite arm!

Again, it’s essential to keep a horizontal back during the entire exercise. Try doing 30 seconds on each side.

9. Leg and Arm Side Plank

While in the side plank position, raise both your top arm and leg into the air as high as possible. Support yourself with your other arm and leg, but stability should be provided by tensing your midsection.

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Hold each side for 30 seconds before switching.

10. Wall Plank

Admittedly, this plank exercise is far harder than it looks. Get back in a forearm plank position, push your feet against a wall, and hold this position.

Increasing the elevation of your feet will increase the difficulty. If you can perform this exercise for 60 seconds, you’ll have incredible abdominal strength!

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Published on July 23, 2020

10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health

10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health

A wise person once said, “health is wealth” and strangely, the year 2020 has been a constant reminder of this.

Working on our fitness and personal health has now become a part of our daily routine. With the constant pour of medical knowledge and its open accessibility, people now prefer to manage their health on their own. Due to this, we have seen a rise in apps and newly designed devices to provide high-quality service in the field of health management. 

One of the most innovative and successful additions in this field has been in the form of fitness trackers. This stylish device that goes on the wrist will fool you into mistaking it for any ordinary watch. However, these trackers with their modern features have proven to be lifesavers.

If you are looking to fulfill your 2020 resolution of “staying healthy and happy”, then I have a list of the best fitness trackers that you just can’t miss.

I have gone through several fitness trackers reviews including reviews from Techradar, Pcmag, and Wired, and compiled this comprehensive guide on the best fitness trackers that will help you to improve your health.

1. Fitbit Versa Lite

    Whenever you think of one of the best fitness trackers, the first brand that comes to mind is Fitbit. They started originally about the size of a band, but as the brand has expanded, they now provide fitness tracker watches as well as fitness trackers with heart rate monitor features.

    The beauty of these fitness trackers is they can track everything by this point – from your sleep cycle down to your heart rate. The battery also has a battery life of 4 days before needing to be charged.

    The only drawback is that the tracking isn’t as accurate as it could be in terms of the miles or steps taken. If you don’t mind that discrepancy then it’s no big issue.

    Get this fitness tracker!

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    2. Fitbit Charge 3

      For those who still love Fitbit but want a budget-friendly option, you have the classic Fitbit. The Charge 3 model offers the same capabilities as the Versa Lite, making it one of the best fitness trackers available out there.

      The only drawback is that since you are working with a smaller screen, the font is going to be smaller and challenging to read.

      Get this fitness tracker!

      3. Garmin Vívoactive 3

        Looking for another fitness tracker to help you exercise? Try out Garmin’s brand. Garmin offers a wide option of designs of their fitness trackers watches too.

        Another perk from this fitness tracker is that it offers GPS capabilities and even access to music. You can also use it to make payments with certain bank cards.

        That being said, this is a more suitable budget option. Comparing this fitness tracker to some of the other best fitness trackers out there, you’ll find this one to be lacking in every area – blurry screen, unstable firmware, and unresponsive at times, especially during workout sessions.

        Get this fitness tracker!

        4. Huawei Band 3 Pro

          For fitness trackers for women, one brand to consider is Huawei’s. Their Band 3 Pro has been out in the market for a few years and takes on a similar design to Fitbit’s Charge 3, except the screen is bigger.

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          Like other fitness trackers, this offers 50M water resistance, making it ideal to be in pools. It also doubles as a camera, offering a shutter on the device.

          That said, the fitness tracker can be a little off with its tracking. Furthermore, it offers a limited option of workouts, making it not as ideal of a personal trainer as others.

          Get this fitness tracker!

          5. Fitbit Versa 2

            I already brought up the Vera Lite option, but this is the original. Similar to the Lite variant, this offers the same features and design. It is a bit stronger in that it can last upwards of 6 days on a charge. It also offers other connection features like connecting to Spotify and Alexa. Overall, if you’re looking for how to lose weight and improve health, this is a solid option.

            There are a few minor gripes about the Versa 2 as well. From having to remove the watch from the case every time to charge it to a few inaccurate tracking, it’s something most can work over if you’re not too picky.

            Get this fitness tracker!

            6. Apple Watch Series

              Naturally, since we’re talking about watches, it makes sense that Apple would appear in this too. There are various apps you can get on any Apple Watch to help you with your health goals. Thus, it could be one of your fitness trackers 2020 options.

              Apple’s watches provide a host of benefits, including easy syncing with other Apple products, GPS capabilities, and is one of the many waterproof fitness trackers, provided you’re only going for a swim.

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              The only thing is you can’t rely on it so much for its battery life or the overall design. The battery life isn’t good compared to other fitness trackers. Also, the strap for the watch isn’t the strongest.

              Get this fitness tracker!

              7. Samsung Galaxy Fit Black

                Samsung is another big brand people are familiar with. Samsung is in the market and offers more budget-friendly fitness trackers for people. The overall design of the Fit Black is a mesh of Fitbit’s Charge 3 and Huawei’s Band 3 Pro – a thin band and screen though it covers a long surface.

                In terms of other unique perks, since Samsung is also in the market for smartphones, this device can connect to smartphones, allowing you to take incoming calls and receive notifications as well. Outside of that, you have the usual fitness tracker perk of being able to monitor water/caffeine intake, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep patterns.

                One of the downsides of this device is that the features listed above are the extent of what it can do. Also, a longer screen means that it might not fit well on many people’s wrists. 

                Get this fitness tracker!

                8. Polar A370

                  Another candidate for one of the best fitness trackers is Polar A370. If you’re looking for something with a simple design and simple features, this is a good pick.

                  This is your barebones fitness tracker in that it’s good at monitoring heart rate and sleep. It’s also compatible with other third-party apps to give you more information as well.

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                  On the flip side, barebones aren’t always what people are looking for. It can give you a good insight into particular issues, but it’s not going to be a solid lifetime fitness tracker.

                  Get this fitness tracker!

                  9. Fitbit Inspire HR

                    For a strong 24-hour fitness tracker, another worthy candidate is Fitbit’s Inspire HR brands. Like many of the Fitbit’s products, it tracks a wide variety of things like calories, heart rate, and sleep. It also tracks other fitness activities with ease like swimming, biking, fast walking, and running.

                    Naturally, there are some downsides as well, though they are minor. From things like a short charge cable to inaccurate tracking of steps, these things come with the territory of fitness trackers.

                    Get this fitness tracker!

                    10. FITFORT

                      The final fitness tracker we went over is the Fitfort. It’s a cheaper alternative to the other fitness trackers listed here, but it also comes with some unique perks. The biggest of which is that it can measure blood pressure along with other aspects of your personal health, too.

                      But like other cheap options, you do run the risk of the product breaking down after a while. For some customers, it went downhill in about five months. You may have better luck, but if you’re looking for something that lasts longer, you might want to look at other brands.

                      Get this fitness tracker!

                      Final Thoughts

                      Setting aside minor issues, there are many solid options for good fitness trackers to help you out with weight loss and improving your health. If you’re still torn on what to choose, go for a device that is compatible with your other devices, especially your phone.

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                      Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

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