This Combo Move Promises a Core and Glute Burn Like No Other

Kirsti Buick
·2-min read

You’ve perfected the plank and can do donkey kicks until the cows come home – now it’s time to level up your core control.

Ever done a bear plank? You may have heard of a bear crawl, where you get on all fours, hover your knees over the floor and, well, crawl.

A bear plank has you staying stationary – a core-focused, full-body bonanza. And as if that’s not enough, we’re adding extra oomph with a donkey kick, or kickback, to get your glutes involved.

Bear plank kickback benefits

‘This exercise is great for core stabilisation and glute engagement,’ says Kate Rowe-Ham, PT and founder of The Fit Hut, Sussex.

‘This can increase muscular endurance and strengthen your core, enabling you to maintain good form during other moves without putting your back under pressure.’

It’s multipurpose, too. ‘The kickback makes it great to add to a leg workout,’ Rowe-Ham says. ‘You could also use it as a warm-up (especially pre-run), as it’ll fire up your quads, hamstrings and glutes.’

What muscles does a bear plank kickback work?

  • Core

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Quads

  • Shoulders

How to do a bear plank kickback

  1. To perform this two-for-one move, start on all fours, with your wrists and shoulders aligned and your knees at 90°. Keep your back flat and push your palms into the floor, engaging your core. Come on to your toes so your knees hover over the floor.

  2. Making sure your core is tight, lift your right foot and, retaining the 90° bend at the knee, drive your heel to the ceiling. Hold for 2 secs, then return to your bear plank position. Do 15 to 20 reps before switching sides. Tougher than it looks, isn’t it?

AVOID IF: You have lower-back or shoulder issues, or are in the last trimester of pregnancy

Bear plank kickback form mistakes to avoid

1. You’re arching your back

Keep your back flat to properly engage your core and glutes and avoid straining the lower back.

2. Your heels are dropping towards the floor

Keep your feet perpendicular to the floor to really engage your legs.

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