Hey everyone! Well I might have dropped the ball on sharing the Plank Challenge compilations, so consider this a “Planksgiving” contribution. We can all use a little boost to keep active during the holidays, so perhaps this was a happy accident that I can use to give everyone that extra push to continue working out despite the Thanksgiving holiday ahead. Speaking of planks, here’s a flashback to a full plank workout I posted last year for the holiday. One not enough? I did a second helping, too. 😉
I think this may have been my favorite week as I used the sliders in all of my variations this week. Though I have access to actual Valslides at the studio, you can easily find hacks to do a similar movement at home. Furniture sliders, towels or paper plates on hardwood floors, even fuzzy socks can slide easily across a smooth surface. If all else fails you can do a lot of the movements without a prop, just mimic the basic version without the sliding motion.
Day 1: Slider Knee Tuck w/ Pushup Option
The knee tuck is performed from a high plank position. Make sure to really engage your core throughout the entire movement as it is really easy for your hips to start to sag when using the sliders. You do not want any sway in that low back. That can be particularly challenging if you include the pushup. Make sure to keep good form throughout the movement and maintain the hands directly underneath the shoulders for good alignment through the upper body as well as the rest of the body.
Day 2: Slider 3-Way Knee Tuck
This version is a similar to the previous, you just add in some tucks to each side of the body to bring some oblique muscle activation to the table. As with the other versions this week, be very cognizant of keeping those hips in line as you cycle through each part of the movement. Control the slides all the way throughout as you don’t want your feet to slide out from underneath of you if you move too quickly.
Day 3: Army Crawls
Most of the Excellence in Exercise clients will tell you this one is a doozy! Besides just working your core in all directions, this one is an upper body killer, as well. There are not many muscles in the body that don’t kick in to assist in some way during this movement. If you don’t have a lot of space you can shorten your “crawl” to a few steps forward and backward to still get the benefit of the exercise.
Day 4: Slider Body Saw
This variation is performed from a low plank position. Many people have trouble figuring out this exercise at first as they tend to want to use their hips or legs. The motion originates from the shoulder joint, so every other part of the body stays solid. This one can be quite challenging, as well, so modify by keeping the range of motion small to start then extend it out as you get stronger and can keep your body locked in throughout.
Day 5: Slider Mountain Climber Plank
Aren’t you amazed how many variations on the classic mountain climber there are? I think the slider variation may just be my favorite. In some ways it makes it easier as you can slide the feet along instead of picking them up, but in other ways it is a bit more challenging as you do really have to focus on keeping pressure into the slides so as not to lose control. Start out slow and work your way up to a faster pace for more of a challenge.
Day 6: Slider Wax On/Wax Off Plank
I often forget about this variation, but it is another great option to challenge the arms and it actually brings in an element of balance. As you switch hands make sure not to let the body sway from side-to-side as it is common to want to correct as your balance moves from one hand to the other. Keep your feet wider to modify or bring them closer together for more of a challenge in maintaining balance.
Day 7: Slider Rollout
This last variation may not count as a traditional plank, but it is an excellent core exercise that I didn’t want to skip out on. If you have a really strong core and upper body you can actually complete the rollout from a high plank position up on the feet, but for most of us mere mortals performing this from the knees is a safer option. You will get plenty of challenge to the abdominal muscles if you perform this correctly. Think about stabilizing the core at the bottom, then pull back with your abs as you bring the hands in instead of relying on your upper body to do the work.
I hope you all enjoyed these variations this week! I still have one more round to share, so I will try to be more prompt in my post for that one. If you have any questions, please let me know! Otherwise make sure to check with your healthcare professional if you have any current concerns with starting a new fitness program.