Plank Exercises For Core Strength

Although it may seem simple, nothing beats plank exercises for core strength.  As it is very important for dancers to have core strength, this site wouldn’t be complete without some articles relating to the core strength that dancers need.
plank exercises for core strength

Here are some great variations of the simple plank exercise that can get your core fit and strong.  Firstly let us discuss the correct way in which to do a plank, as it is essential to master the basic plank before moving on to the more advanced variations.  The plank exercises can only be effective if the correct form is maintained.

How To Do Plank Exercises For Core Strength

plank exercises for core strength

The correct form for a plank is to maintain a neutral spine.  If you don’t know what that is, it is the natural curve of the back when you are standing in the correct posture.

Make sure not to over-arch the back.  Shoulder blades should be pulled down your back and you should hold yourself off of your arms and not sink into them.  There should be a line from the top of your head to your heel.  The head shouldn’t drop forward.  The heels can pull downwards to get an extra stretch in the calf muscle.  Tummy muscles must be well held in order to protect your lower back.

The picture on the left is the basic plank with the arms stretched.  Once you can hold this position for a minute or more, it is time to move into the advanced plank, pictured on the right.

plank exercises for core strength

The more advanced plank is exactly the same as the one above, but propped on your forearms, elbows in line with your shoulders, and your toes planted firmly into the floor.

The most common problem seen in planks is a sinking lower back, but the second-most common problem is an arched back with the hips in the air. This is the type of “plank” usually favored by people who say a plank is “too easy.”

Once you have mastered the basic plank you can try to up the difficulty levels a bit.  Keeping the same form try to lift alternate legs and then arms.

When you feel solid on three points of contact, cut back to two: one arm and one leg. If you can hold this for 60-90 seconds with good technique, pat yourself on the back and move on to more advanced versions.

Another modification is to push your arms out in front of you slightly during the hold. The change of leverage from having your arms farther away from your center makes this movement much more awkward and difficult. Go slowly with this one.

Work those stabilizer muscles even more by adding some dynamic movement into your plank.  You could put your feet or hands on paper plates and move them in and out.  You could lift one leg at the back and bring it into your chest and stretch it out behind you a couple of times on each leg.  You could take one foot off the floor and pulse into the heel of the other foot a few times.

Make sure that whatever variations that you are doing, you are holding those tummy muscles firmly in place and controlling your every movement.

plank exercises for core strength

Another variation of the plank is the side plank.  You can do this by placing your weight on one elbow and ensuring that one hip is over the other.  Make sure to lift well off your arm and out of your shoulder.  This is excellent for working those obliques.

Download a free Plank Exercise App by clicking on the picture to the right.

Plank Exercises With Accessories

Other variations of the plank include doing them on a Bosu Ball.  Place your hands quite close together on the Bosu to challenge your core even more as you now need to balance.  Now place your feet on the ball and hold that pose.

You could do the same thing using a foam roller.  You could even do with your elbows on a Pilates ball – now that is a balance challenge in itself.

Need To Know More About Plank Exercises For Core Strength?

For more great plank exercises for core strength variations, you can try the book below:

Ultimate Plank Fitness: For a Strong Core, Killer Abs – and a Killer Body

plank exercises for core strengthA safe, challenging, and effective method of core conditioning, plank exercises for core strength are one of the best ways to get fit and toned. Variations of planks are used across many fitness domains including traditional group exercise, personal training, home workouts, yoga, pilates, barre, CrossFit and more. Not only are planks perfect for crafting six-pack abs, they also target shoulders, pectorals, biceps, triceps, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. They increase the heart rate, offer calorie-busting cardio exercise, and create healthy muscle tone.

Ultimate Plank Fitness features 100 different variations of planks that can be used to customize your workout. Easily increase the difficulty of your core strengthening exercises by adding stability balls, gliders, and weights. Each exercise includes a step-by-step photo demonstration, points of performance, where to engage, along with common faults to detect ways to improve your fitness. Finally, CrossFit coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor, Jennifer DeCurtins provides you with ten 5-minute workouts incorporating several planks that you can use to target trouble areas and build strength.

With countless variations of the exercise, ranging from traditional planks to side plank variations and planks using external weights or unstable surfaces, your entire workout can be programmed around the plank! Work your way to a healthy core with Ultimate Plank Fitness.

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17 thoughts on “Plank Exercises For Core Strength”

  1. Hi Michel, I didnt know that dancers also need a good amount of core strenght when dancing. If that is the case, then your plank exercises that you have shared in this post will definitely improved anybody core strenght for sure. I have been doing plank and side plank exercise for a while now, and it definitely improved my core strenght. I have never done plank exercise with accessories such as bosu ball or foam roller like you mentioned but I guess I would like them myself. Thanks a lot for your post as it gives me some more ideas for doing plank exercises!

  2. My niece is 10 years old and she always like to receive tights, cute tops for her birthday and Christmas gifts. I clicked through some of the very cute costumes you showed on your site. Is there a site that specializes more on normal dancing outfits for her age that you can recommend for me to look at? As far as the floor is concerned, the floors I have seen used at weddings are very heavy. My friend owns a wedding event center and every time we have to put the floor together, it takes several strong men. I will mention to her your blog so maybe she can get the “hook-able” ones. Great and very informative blog. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for this blog post its a wonderful read on plank exercises for core strength. I’ve always found planks to be one of the hardest exercises to do, but with greater benefits than just a standard sit up. But with anything the exercise is only as good as your form and technique. Thanks for highlighting that.

  4. Hi Michel, I love your website and the design – admittedly I do not do any dancing classes etc but I find your pages/posts very interesting especially the plank exercises! I will definitely start doing planks as I read that they are more beneficial than sit ups. I love the layout of your site and the colours – it is actually very similar to mine – can I ask did you change the colour of the theme? Keep up the good work – I can see you have spent a lot of time on it. Congratulations.

    Kind regards,

    Holly

  5. Hi Michel, I was a dancer myself for many years and still use this exercise until today to keep fit & keep my core tight. I really like how you have different variations of this exercise, I wasn’t aware that there are so many of them!
    Will definitely give it a try. Very informative post, liked it a lot.

  6. I agree that the plank is a great way to work your core. Sit-ups and crunches are really very ineffective exercises that are actually targeting the wrong muscles; mostly the hip flexors in the case of the sit-up. It’s great to see informative articles like yours which show the correct way to work the abs and supporting muscles around our body. Our stomach muscles primary purpose is to support and brace our bodies and provide support to our spine as we perform other activities and that is exactly what the plank trains them to do.

  7. Planks are awesome for the core! I never do the first one with my hands holding up my top half, but I do the more advanced one, along with the side planks. When I do side planks, I incorporate dips which really get my obliques burning. They’re amazing ab exercises. Great post 🙂

  8. Hi,

    I really enjoyed your article because I am looking to strengthen my core. I do not have a strong core so I need to put more work.

    These plank exercise look like they will really help me out. I will try them out right now!

    I am exited and I personally like to feel the burn when I do these exericses.

    Thanks,

    Emmanuel

    1. Planks are great for strengthening core muscles, but don’t hold to long in the beginning or you will be very stiff.

  9. Some good variations for planks. The side plank, is petty tough to hold, more so than the front. At least for me. I do the up down versions…Starting on the palms and going to the forearms and back up again. More dynamic than just holding the position.

    I’ve never done it on the Bosu. Not sure if I could keep stable.

    1. I to have tried the down up version, Unfortunately my arms give up on me after about ten. But you are right Dave that is an excellent variation to the conventional plank, providing the core is kept stable throughout and strain on the shoulders is kept to a minimum.

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