Learn These 5 Twisting Plank Exercises For Rotational Core Strength, Spinal Stability, And A Rock-Hard Mid-Section
Everyone knows that the plank is a great exercise for building core strength, but rarely do you see the plank trained in the transverse plane of motion (i.e. rotation). Plank exercises are mostly confined to the sagittal plane (e.g. standard front plank on elbows) and the frontal plane (e.g. side plank). And that’s great! But we need strength in all three planes. And sometimes, adding some rotational exercises to a strength training program can be sort of a “missing link” to help you get stronger.
Unfortunately, there isn’t too much info out there about strength training in the transverse plane. Certain “rotational” exercises are taught like wood choppers, Russian twists, tornado ball slams, and various medicine ball throws, among others. And some of these are good exercises in certain cases. But they’re not necessarily the best for beginner and even some intermediate trainees. Now, since planks are great exercises for all skill levels, and since I’ve never seen a twisting plank exercise before, I decided to make my own. So, I modified some exercises that I’ve used over the years and came up with a basic twisting plank progression.
In the video below, you’ll learn five different twisting plank exercises for rotational core strength. Each exercise builds off of the former.
Here they are from easiest to hardest:
Level 1: one-hand hip twist plank
Level 2: two-hand hip twist plank
Level 3: one-hand leg thread plank
Level 4: two-hand leg thread plank
Level 5: leg thread elbow plank
Note: there are included in my free plank training program here: 30 Days to a 5 Minute Plank and Rock-Hard Abs.
A word of caution: before you begin training with twisting plank exercises, work up to being able to hold a standard elbow plank for at least two minutes (and ideally, five minutes). You can click here to learn how long to hold a plank.
5 Twisting Plank Exercises You’ve Never Tried Before
How to perform the one-hand hip twist plank exercise
Here’s how to get into position:
From a ball-of-foot squat position, lean forward and place your hands on the ground in front of you – assuming the “quad squat” position on both hands and balls of feet. From there, twist your hips to one side, lowering your outside hip/glute down towards the ground.
If you twist to the right (i.e. clockwise), your weight goes on the planted left arm – elbow locked and shoulder packed down on your torso. Plant your right foot firmly on the ground and use it to press off of (countering it with the opposite arm for stability). Your other foot should be resting either on its outside edge or just on top of the foot – whatever is most comfortable.
Lengthen your spine in both directions and contract your core musculature to create stability. Exhale slowly throughout the duration of your set, and hold the position for time.
Tips for rotational plank success
- Spend plenty of time working on the rudimentary plank exercises before trying rotational planks.
- Go easy on these twisting planks your first day and progress gradually with them, especially if you have a history of back problems.
- Keep a lengthened spine as best as you can in each exercise.
- Maintain a steady exhale throughout the duration of the set.
- If you’re having trouble getting into position, use joint mobility or yoga exercises to improve your mobility and/or flexibility, especially for your hips, shoulders, and spine.
- Do not hold these positions if you experience any pain.
If you’ve never tried any rotational or twisting planks before, give these a shot. They’ll add a whole new dimension to your plank training.
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Health-First Fitness Coach