Training Tip: Planks

Training Tip: Planks

Weighted planks are one of my favorite exercises for the core. I generally prefer static-strength movements for abs, for two reasons:

1. The abs function as a stabilizer in the powerlifters. I’m generally not one to push the “specificity” argument, but because abs are difficult to use correctly in the first place, I think it’s appropriate here.
2. Static movements are less likely to build size than movements that involve a greater range of motion. No reason to make your gut any bigger than it already is.

The downside of weighted planks is that it’s pretty fucking hard to actually add weight. You need someone to help you, it’s time consuming, and it’s impractical to actually use decent loads. Trust me, this one took a lot of setup time.

So, to make planks more difficult without taking all the plates in the gym, try this progression:

  • Remove a limb. No, not literally. Pick an arm or leg (or both) up off the floor and continue to balance. Because you’ll be less stable in this position, it’s more demanding on the abs.
  • Shrink your base. Along the same lines as the tip above, resting your hands on an upright plate, like Dr. Dwayne demonstrates below, requires more stability because your balance point is smaller. Obviously, this makes the movement far more difficult.
  • Roll out. Step up the plate idea by using an ab wheel instead of a plank. Not only are you balancing over a smaller area, but your balance point itself moves. If you’re really a beast, superset these with actual ab rollouts.
Got any plank tips? Share them in the comments below.
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