SMART CORE TRAINING doesn't just target your six-pack muscles.
If you want a balanced, strong midsection, you'll need to address other area, too. Chief among them, especially if you want to build a structurally solid core, are the obliques. The most common exercise you'll see guys doing for the obliques is the side plank, and you'd be well-served to add it to your workout routine.
But like the standard variation of the exercise, you might tire of it after just a few rounds. Thankfully, you can level up your side plank with these variations from trainer Ben Feiden, architect of the new Killer Core in 15 Minutes programme.
All of these exercises will introduce a new wrinkle into your core workout, with new elements like getting your glutes, hips, and thoracic spine in on the action. You won't just build a stronger set of side abs — you'll move better, too.
3 Side Plank Level-Ups
Copenhagen Side Plank
2 to 3 sets of 10 to 20 second holds per side
Get down on the floor on your side, placing one elbow on the floor stacked directly beneath your shoulder. Make sure to keep your ear as far away from your shoulder as you can (in other words, don't shrug). Extend your legs out, then rest your weight on the top foot and brace your core to elevate your body off the floor, resting on your elbow and foot. Drive your bottom knee up, as if you were raising it up to run. Hold this position, maintaining tension to keep your spine straight and your torso from falling forward, then return to the floor.
Dynamic Star Plank
2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side
Start in the same position on your side with your elbow on the floor stacked below your shoulder. This time, however, bend your knees together on the floor. Push your elbow and bottom knee into the floor and press upward, raising your top arm and leg up in the air in the shape of a star. Hold this position for a count, then return to the start.
2 to 3 reps of 8 to 10 reps per side
Get into a high plank/pushup position, with your hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, your feet on the floor in line with your hands, squeezing your glutes and abs to create fully body tension and keep your back level. Push one hand into the ground, then lift the other off the floor, rotating your torso to reach up to the sky. Keep your eyes locked onto that hand as you raise up. Pause for a count, then rotate back to the starting position.
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