What if I told you there was an exercise that has the power to improve posture, decrease low back pain, improve core strength and actually increase hip and shoulder flexibility? 

There is. 

Enter the Plank. 

Because the plank has so many benefits and can be tailored to fit a variety of fitness levels, we use them with all of our members. 

They are a foundational exercise that is not only a great tool to strengthen your core but to also teach you how to properly brace your abs and resist movement through your spine. This is crucial when exercising, especially with weights as it keeps you more stable and less likely to lose form and potentially get injured. 

Finally, by holding a static position in a plank there is less stress on your neck and spine compared to traditional ab exercises like crunches. 

If you are new to planks, start by mastering the front and side planks shown in the video below.. 



#1 Plank Row

The plank row is a great core exercise that challenges both your abs and shoulders.  Start light as these are tough! 

Key Points

  • Start with dumbbells under shoulders
  • Feet should be wider than shoulder width
  • Keep glutes squeezed and hips tucked under
  • Without moving hips, row one dumbbell towards rib cage
  • Start with 3 sets of 5-8 reps/side


#2 Swiss Ball Stir the Pot

Here is a great way to increase the difficulty of the front plank. The instability of being on the ball plus the arm movement makes these a fantastic ab exercise!

Key Points

  • Start with forearms on ball and fists directly under eyes
  • Feet should be wider than shoulder width
  • Keep glutes squeezed and hips tucked under
  • Stay tall by keeping chest away from ball
  • Without moving your body, slowly make small circles with just your arms
  • Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps/side


#3 Body Saw

Warning! These will make your abs sore!
If you do not have access to a slide board pictured below, use a towel on a smooth surface or furniture movers on carpet. 

Key Points

  • Start in front plank position with fists placed under eyes
  • Squeeze glutes and keep hips tucked throughout
  • Use arms to slowly slide body back 2-4” and return to starting position
  • Keep hips on same plane throughout
  • Increase difficulty by increasing range-of-motion
  • Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps


#4 Side Plank Kettlebell Hold

The side plank kettlebell hold is the perfect exercise to strengthen your lateral abs and make your side planks more challenging. Here you get the added benefit of shoulder and grip strength by having to control the unstable kettlebell.  

Key Points

  • Start with down elbow right under shoulder and feet stacked
  • Raise KB overhead, keeping it directly over shoulder
  • Keep straight line from head to feet
  • Keep glutes tight and hips tucked
  • Start with 3 sets of :20-:30 holds/side


#5 Side Plank Row 

Key Points 

  • Start with down elbow right under shoulder and feet stacked
  • Keep straight line from head to feet
  • Keep glutes tight and hips tucked
  • Without moving body row cable or band with top hand towards ribs
  • Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps/side

Our philosophy at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is that every individual—regardless of fitness level, age, gender, or goals—receives the best results from a comprehensive strength and conditioning program in a safe training environment coached by educated, experienced professionals. 

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