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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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Last Updated on June 1, 2020

17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now

17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now

You made it here – the decision to lose weight! This means that mindfulness is kicking in. This is important for motivation, weight loss, and health. Being healthy and active is necessary!

Our bodies were meant to move, not be sedentary. For weight loss, the success of your journey is based on your ability to stay motivated throughout.

Motivation is easy at first, but holding on to it may breed a little challenge. Please know that this is normal. You will have days where motivation is at its all-time high and other days where motivation is at an all-time low.

In this article, we’ll look into some of the best ideas on how to get motivated to lose weight and why we lose motivation easily along the weight loss journey.

Motivation and Inspiration for Losing Weight

There are varied reasons for wanting to lose weight. The one common factor: everyone needs motivation.

One piece of advice:

Motivation comes a little easier when you determine the reason for wanting to lose weight.

What is/are your motivating factors for losing weight? It is important to understand your “why”, no matter how small.

Losing weight, even just 5% of your weight can help:

  • Improve blood sugar
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers

As someone who has been through this journey, I can tell you that it will require constant recharges of motivation.

I did it the old-fashioned way, diet, and exercise. It took me almost 3 years to achieve 85 pounds lost. That may seem like a really long time. However, keep in mind that healthy weight loss averages 1-2 pounds per week.

    Motivation is really strong in the beginning, but it starts to shift when the results aren’t immediate. The results take time, and your motivation is the key to get you there.

    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

    Common Weight Loss Motivation Struggles

    Lack of motivation is common for many reasons. Motivation can trigger a number of emotions, making it hard to get motivated.

    Some of the common motivation struggles that people face are:

    1. Unsupportive Social Environment

    Your social environment is your physical and social setting (home, family, friends, etc.). Many don’t realize the importance and influence of a social environment.

    If you are trying to get on the right track and hear something like “oh, you don’t need to do that, let’s go out and get ice cream”, your motivation to do the right thing is will likely be impacted.

    2. Lots of Hard Work for Slow Results

    When you work out 5 times a week and carefully count your calories, naturally you want to see more than 2 pounds gone. Please keep in mind that normal and healthy weight loss averages 2 pounds per week – about 3500 calories burned means one pound lost.

    3. Injuries

    Many suffer from injuries that reduce their ability to exercise. However, you should also consider low impact exercises and exercise modifications.

    Additionally, discussing approved workouts with your doctor is helpful. Exercise can still happen with an injury, but don’t lose motivation!

    4. Cravings

    You will have cravings, and that’s ok! Even the healthiest people have cravings. When cravings strike, be mindful of the craving and the portion.

    Craving cookies? Bake them at home so that you can modify and control the recipe for your goal.

    5. Healthy Food Is Expensive

    There is a bit of truth and a bit of a lie here. Healthy food can be a bit expensive. However, if you eat more of a plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.), the costs won’t skyrocket.

    6. Lack of Time for Working Out

    If losing weight is really what you are set out to accomplish, then you have to find some time. You have to schedule and coordinate your day to day to include working out.

    For days that you simply can’t, make choices that force a little more movement. Park at the back of the parking lot and take the longer path to the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do squats while cooking, and/or do sit-ups during commercial breaks.

    The Importance of Mindfulness for Motivation and Weight Loss

    Be honest with yourself, how many times have you eaten something without actually thinking about what you were feeding yourself?

    Mindfulness plays an important role in our everyday decisions, especially the decisions regarding our health. There are many mindfulness considerations that will help motivate you to lose weight.

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    In the past, we were taught what to eat and what not to eat. However, there was no guidance on how to select and consume, which ultimately contributed to weight issues.

    In general, people have a strong misconception about food and its purpose in our lives and health. This creates unhealthy habits that contribute to weight gain.

    The importance of mindfulness in this journey is crucial to your weight loss success. That’s why mindfulness is essential in knowing how to get motivated to lose weight.

    Take a look at this article to learn more about mindful eating: The Best Benefits of Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and How to Start Now.

    17 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight

    1. Love and Appreciation

    Love inspires motivation and motivation feeds appreciation.

    Loving yourself motivates you to appreciate our body and all the things that it can do. Appreciation for the body improves body image and appreciation for body image leads to weight loss motivation.

    2. Mindfulness

    As discussed above, mindfulness is the key to success. Being mindful ensures that you are aware of your “why”, the reason for starting your weight loss journey, and are dedicated to making good choices that support your ultimate goal.

    Mindfulness also keeps you aware throughout the process: food choices, social settings, and process/progress.

    3. Be Committed

    Your motivation for weight loss will suffer if you are not committed. Making a public commitment will help hold you accountable and enhance motivation.

    4. Get a Mentor or Accountability Partner

    Having a mentor and/or an accountability partner will help with maintaining your motivation. Having someone that inspires you and believes in you will also boost your motivation.

    5. Animals Help Motivate

    Getting a dog will increase movement because dogs have to go outside and play. A dog can be an accountability partner too! Not only will they make you move, but they are also awesome support beings.

    6. Goal Setting

    You know your “why” and now you’re ready to get started. What are your goals? Are they realistic?

    As discussed above, an average of 2 pounds a week is normal and healthy weight loss. Setting goals like “I plan on losing 15 pounds in a week” will result in a lack of motivation at the end of the week.

    7. Pace Yourself

    The weight loss journey is a lifestyle transformation journey. This doesn’t happen within a few days.

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    Habits take time to break. Don’t lose hope!

    8. Perfection Doesn’t Exist and Setbacks Will Happen

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be patient and love yourself through this process. This isn’t an easy journey, so expect a few setbacks as you transition and get into the groove.

    9. Don’t Set Your Eyes on the End, Set Them on Each Day

    What I mean is, focus on the journey, not the end goal.

    If you are trying to lose 50 pounds, focusing on that number will motivate you initially, but it will cause a lack of motivation later due to being overwhelmed about the length of time.

    Instead, focus on your daily goals.

    10. Incorporate a Plan That Fits Your Daily Life

    Everyone has different responsibilities and different reasons for losing weight. One plan doesn’t work for everyone.

    Build your own plan – one that you can fit into your everyday life.

    Mindfulness is key here and helps keep you motivated. Being mindful of your day and incorporating a weight loss plan is important.

    A few suggestions:

    • Reduce the number of calories you eat. Keep a food journal and track everything.
    • Make smaller plates with smaller portions. Portion control is important.
    • Reduce your unhealthy snack and sugar intake. Sugar can breed disaster.
    • Stay away from deep-fried/fried foods.
    • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

    11. Don’t Weigh Yourself Everyday

    This is a huge NO. Weighing in once a week and keeping track of progress is what you need. Weighing yourself once a day is one of the fastest ways to lose motivation.

    Remember, healthy weight loss averages 2 pounds per week.

    12. Don’t Focus 100% on the Scale

    The scale is just one way to track progression and even in that, special considerations must be given. You may have gotten on the scale 2 weeks ago and have lost 15 pounds, but this week you may gain 5 pounds.

    If you turned fat into muscle, this will happen, so don’t lose motivation! This is a good thing. It means that you are burning fat and building muscle, and building muscle means toning up.

    13. Celebrate and Reward Yourself

    When you reach a goal, celebrate! Share your success with your social environment.

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    Being happy and celebrating your achievement enhances motivation.

    14. Hire a Trainer

    It is okay to hire a professional trainer to help motivate and coach you toward your weight loss goal. The trainer doesn’t have to be a workout trainer. You can consider a dietician or therapist.

    15. Use Music

    Music is a motivation booster for sure! Music will help you move and groove, taking the focus off of the act and allowing happy to kick in and motivate you.

    Research conducted by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that those who listened to music while exercising were more likely to stick with it than those who didn’t.

    16. Keep Those Jeans

    You may have a pair of jeans that you want to get back into. Keep them! Let them motivate you.

    17. Take Pictures and Document Your Progress

    Your body will change as your eating habits and exercise habits change. Take a picture at the start and consider a photo every 30 to 60 days. Seeing your progress will help keep you motivated.

    How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight When Motivation is Lost

    You may find yourself 100% motivated in the beginning and less motivated after a few weeks of trying.

    Keep in mind that habits generally take 21 days to break. If you find yourself with 0 motivation after having been 100% motivated before, try these:

    • Go back to your why. Why did you start? What was the purpose?
    • Try resetting your goal. Maybe your initial goal was a little too aggressive. It’s okay to adjust and do what works for you.
    • Talk to a coach or trainer. It is a good idea to discuss with struggles with professionals. Many will offer free insight and advice for getting started and staying on track.
    • Reconsider an accountability partner and/or group. Being around like-minded people on your journey can help so much with motivation.
    • Find out if working out is the problem. Working out alone can be a bit boring. Have you considered a group fitness class? This goes back to being around like-minded people who are sharing your journey.
    • Get more motivational messages. Words and phrases of affirmation are so important. Loving yourself and being patient with yourself is at the core of success for this journey. How about waking up each day to a motivational message that you wrote for yourself?
    • Stop comparing yourself to others. Weight loss reasons, weight loss motivation, and weight loss journeys are different for everyone. Focusing on the journey of others takes you away from your goals and accomplishments. Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s. This is your journey and you’ll do great!

    The Bottom Line

    It took me almost 3 years to lose 85 pounds. I have kept my current weight for over 5 years and counting. This guide on how to get motivated to lose weight is only here to help you. It’s still up to you whether you will follow them or not.

    Mindfulness and lifestyle transformations really are key for keeping it off. Your journey will make you strong, educate you, and transform you.

    Your motivation is within. Find your “why”, hang on to it, be patient, love yourself, and you will find success at the end of the journey.

    More Tips on How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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