Challenge Yourself With These Balance-Boosting Plank Exercises

It's hard to underestimate the positive results from building core strength. Focusing on this important fitness component over the summer can improve your balance and stability and prevent injury.

Using medicine balls or basketballs, perform the following elevated plank exercises to improve your core strength and stability. Don't worry if you struggle to maintain balance at first; these are not your standard Plank exercises.

Equipment

  • Two medicine balls (or basketballs)
  • Exercise mat
  • Timer
  • Water Bottle

Guidelines

  • Consecutively perform two circuits of the three Plank movements (prone, side and supine), doing one set of each exercise and immediately moving on to the next exercise without rest. Rest 10 seconds before resuming the second circuit.
  • Add 10 seconds to each exercise for added intensity.
  • Change the sequence of exercises in each workout for variety.
  • Hold each plank position 30 seconds during the initial workout.
  • Do not let your lower back or hips sag during the Prone, Side and Supine Plank. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, and your forearms about shoulder-width apart on the mat.
  • Hydrate before and after performing both circuits.

Exercises

Elevated Single-Leg Prone Plank

  • Assume prone plank position with a foot on each ball (toes on ball, not ankles) and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Raise right foot off ball and hold 10 seconds.
  • Bring right foot down, raise left foot off other ball and hold 10 seconds (30 seconds for entire sequence).

Elevated Single-Leg Side Plank

  • Immediately turn to your right side, resting on your right forearm, and place both feet atop one ball.
  • Raise your hips off the mat.
  • Raise your left arm overhead and your left foot off the ball. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Switch to your left side, resting on your left forearm, both feet on the ball to start.
  • Raise your right arm overhead while simultaneously raising your hips off mat and your right foot off ball. Hold 30 seconds.

Elevated Single-Leg Supine Plank

  • Rotate onto your back and place a heel on each ball while resting on your forearms.
  • Simultaneously lift your hips and back off mat. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Raise your right foot off the ball and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Bring that foot down, raise your left foot off the other ball and hold for 10 seconds (30 seconds for entire sequence).

Topics: CORE | WORKOUTS | EXERCISE

Jim Carpentier Jim Carpentier - Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health...
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