Nearly every single workout I do, I incorporate some form of a plank exercise. And my clients will be quick to
complain tell you that their workouts always seem to have planking involved. Why do I love the plank? It’s a simple position in which you’re maintaining good posture while working against gravity. Add in limb movement or weights and you have an even better endurance exercise. A couple of weeks ago I was working on a client program and came up with an awesome idea of making planks a form of active rest between circuits (which I’m sure she loved!). I offhandedly wondered to myself if I could make a full body plank workout – as in planks only. And so this workout came about.
Want to work on your abs, your posture and full body strength? Look no further than this full body plank workout! Try 3 rounds of 15 reps, or if you want to see how much you can improve in this workout, try it as a times AMRAP (as many reps as possible), for 3 rounds of 1 minute each (one minute each side for unilateral exercises).
Disclaimer: With any workout I post, remember that while I am a certified personal trainer, I’m not your trainer – please use your own discretion and experience before attempting any workout.
Start off the workout by getting down into a forearm plank, then raising alternating straight legs. Keep your abdominals tight and try to keep your hips square to the ground as you raise your leg.
PLANK CHEST TAPS
Come up into a hand plank position and get the upper body working with chest taps. My form is not great on these so it’s an exercise I’m working on perfecting. Keeping your shoulders centered over your wrists, raise one hand and tap to the opposite side of your chest. Slowly return your hand to the mat, then repeat on the other side. In the photos above, my hips are rolling too much to each side to balance myself as my arm moves. Ideally, you want to keep a perfect, straight plank position throughout.
COBRA PLANK LOWERS
I adore this exercise and my clients do not. Lie facedown on your mat, with hands close in to your body right at chest level. Push through your hands to come up into a cobra position, then push through the balls of your feet and lift your hips to a hand plank. Keeping your elbows in tight, lower slowly down to the floor, trying to lower to the mat in one straight line.
SIDE PLANK STARS
Get into a side plank position, with elbow under your shoulder, hips tucked under and feet stacked. Slowly raise your top leg and arm straight up, then lower back to your starting position. This is harder than it looks, since you’re working against gravity using single joint movements. If this move gets too easy for you, though, you can always add ankle weight bands and a dumbbell to really make it challenging!
Take a quick break from the focus on the upper body and get your hear pumping with this quick cardio move. For this exercise, you want to jump your feet out to either side and back again, all while keeping perfect posture.
Back up to a hand plank to get your hips working for this plank kicks exercise. From your hand plank position, bring one knee in close to your chest, then push your hips up as you raise your straight leg up as high as you can (in yoga this end position would be called a down dog split).
SIDE PLANK REVERSE FLYES
For this exercise and the next, if you have a dumbbell, use it. If not, you can always use an exercise band. (Check out this post for more ideas on building your own home gym with limited equipment). Get into a side plank position, with a dumbbell in your top hand. Scoop the weight under your body, then raise your arm out and up into a reverse flye.
From a hand plank position, with a dumbbell in one hand, try to keep your neutral spine plank as you row the weight up, then return to start. Tip: balance in this position will be easier with your feet in a wide stance.
Do this workout as a circuit, going back to the start and repeating each exercise – 3 sets of 15 reps, or 3 sets of 1 minute AMRAP. When you’re finished, cool down with a quick yoga flow and end up in child’s pose to stretch out.
Planks – love them or hate them?