Few exercises are better than the plank at developing your core strength, especially since it requires absolutely no equipment or even that much space.
One thing you do need, however, is grit, because the plank is an isometric move that will test your resolve in a different way from exercises where you’re moving. Maintaining perfect form for anything over 30 seconds is tough on the mind as well as the body. Simply put, it gets boring.
If you’re finding that you can hold a plank for long periods and are getting bored while doing so, try the plank shoulder tap – it’ll increase the difficulty and add some action to help the time fly by. The shoulder tap brings the same core-strengthening benefits of the plank to the table, but the move is more of a challenge for your arms and shoulders. In addition, maintaining your balance and body position as you lift one arm at a time varies the challenge posed to your core muscles.
How To Do The Plank Shoulder Tap
Begin in a high or elevated plank position. Support your body on your hands and toes with your arms extended and hands planted directly under your shoulders, and your legs extended. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders – don’t let your hips sag or pike them up into the air.
The movement involved in the exercise is a simple one. Raise one hand off the floor and move it up and across to tap the opposite shoulder, then repeat on the opposite side. Move deliberately, and engage your core and glutes to ensure that your hips don’t rock from side to side as you move your arms. The rest of your body should stay as still as possible while you’re moving your arms. Imagine a glass of water resting on your lower back – don’t let it tip off to the side.
If you’re finding the exercise tough, return to a standard plank to build more strength and stability, or build up to the full move by performing the plank shoulder tap with your knees on the floor to begin with.