How to Effectively Train Your Core Without Doing Any Crunches!

Week 2: Planks

Welcome to Week 2 in our 5-week series, where we will showcase a new safe and effective core exercise every week, including the Pallof Press, Plank Variations, Plank Variations with Val Slides, Body Saw, and Bird Dog.

In case you missed last week’s post, we introduced the Pallof Press where we explained and showed (through video) how to perform and progress the exercise.  You can read all about it here.

how to train your core without doing any crunches - planks

This week, we explore Planks!  Planks are a great way to train your core safely and effectively.  When performing a plank correctly, your core, back, upper and lower body, and other stabilizing muscles are greatly challenged to keep your alignment and form in tact.  Since your spine is in a neutral position, your lower back doesn’t experience any flexion or repetitive stress, which makes planks one of the best core exercises out there.

How to Do a Correct Plank:

• brace your core and squeeze your glutes
• align your shoulders directly over your elbows
• neutralize your neck and set your gaze just ahead of your arms
• neutralize your spine – not too high and not too low
• keep your body quiet, no wiggling
• don’t forget to breath!
• read more tips here

Ways To Progress a Plank:

There are many ways to progress a plank.  To start, you can increase your time.  When you’re ready, you can also move on to a more difficult variations.  Check out some of the plank progressions below:

Extended to Foreams

how to train your core effectively planks

The forearm plank is the next natural progression after the fully extended position.  As you become closer to the ground, the more difficult the exercise will become and the harder your abdominals will work to stabilize your body.  Learn more about Extended to Forearms here!

3 Point Plank

3 point plank progression

In a 3 Point Plank, you will have 3 points of contact on the ground: two arms and one foot.  Since your points of contact are lessened, your body will need to work harder to stabilize itself, making the exercise more demanding on your core.  Learn more about the 3 Point Plank here!

Single Arm Plank

single arm plank

Similar to 3 Point Plank, with the Single Arm Plank, you will have 3 points of contact on the ground: one arm and two feet.  Since your weight will be unbalanced, your core will be working extra hard to stabilize your body, making this a challenging progression.  Learn more about the Single Arm Plank here!

Side Plank

plank progression side plank

The Side Plank heavily targets your obliques which in turn will work to strengthen your lower back muscles, making this variation a great exercise.  Learn more about the Side Plank here!

***Stay tuned for next week (Week 3), where we will show you another great way to effectively train your core without any crunches!***

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge.

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