In case you’re out here in internet world today….I thought I’d drop a little workout on you for your Thanksgiving weekend. This year I’m celebrating PLANKSGIVING! And I have four different planks for you in the following photos. I plan to do at least one style each day for the next 4 days, but you could easily do all four today and then give yourself the appropriate rest before repeating the series. Appropriate rest for resistance training (including body weight exercises) is a minimum of 48 hours between same muscle groups and a maximum of 72 hours rest.

Standard Plank: Notice that I need to drop my hips a little here in order to get my ear, shoulder, hip, and heel on a diagonal line. This is partly due to the fact that I am also looking slightly forward. The key to a great plank is the engage the transverse abdominus by pulling the belly button to the spine. Then have the feeling that your body is pushing out through the heels. This allows you to breath better, support the core to the maximum, and hold plank for the longest possible time.
Down Plank: Again my head is slightly too far forward and this time it has caused my hips and shoulder to be dropped from the line. By tilting my head down and pulling in my navel (which is different than sucking in) I can lift the hips and engage the core a little better. Keeping the elbows tucked in during Down Plank is a MUST!
Incline Plank: This is one of the most difficult plank positions (many people opt for a Table Top position instead) and requires ankle flexibility, glute strength, and the ability to neutralize the head/neck as part of the spine. As you can see here, my head/neck is a little too far tucked instead of aligned and this is partly because my glutes are not engaged enough to pull my hips up. Avoid throwing the head back in this position and note that the fingertips are pointed toward the toes.
Side Plank: In yoga we tell participants that they should not attempt even modified side plank versions until they have mastered all other plank versions. This one is AMAZING for engaging the core muscle groups and specifically focusing on isometrically engaging the lats and obliques. However, it requires balance, stability, and strength in the upper body and core. Note the my hips are a little high for the side diagonal line, as well as my head. It is important to keep the front of the body open and “flat” by pushing the hips forward and not sagging backward.

And check out this article from ACE for more training ideas this holiday season:


Are you PLANKSGIVING this year?

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