I was happy to see the sun yesterday morning. Two days of cold grey skies and rain is not for this girl. I don’t mind the rain, I don’t like it’s when cold. Same with overcasts skies. I’ll take warm weather, hot weather, any day! However rain makes plants for me to eat grow and I day dream of warmer days. Or huddle in a scarf until next summer!
For a change yesterday, I ran along the beaches and all the access ramps to them. As it was a fiesta/holiday just for the Barcelona region I thought the beaches would be packed after two day of emptiness. I was wrong, the walkers and runners out numbered the sunbathers! Yoga, foam roller, handstand and forearm practice, chores and return of grey skies later we hit the beaches for a bike ride to look around the fair, stopping off at the W hotel along the way. The W always has amazing views and angles!
8km along the beaches and the Hulk had a night out!
I wanted to share with you some of my favourite plank exercises that also work the arms, shoulders and back. Planks are perfect for overall core strength and work the deeper abs muscles crunches can’t get to. They’re also a great total body exercise and a base to play around with. If you’re like me holding a full plank can get tedious. I like to switch things up, play around with them! The variations below target not just abs but have more emphasis on the arms, shoulders and back.
Starting position is the same: Full plank position, straight arms shoulder width apart, shoulders over wrists, feet hip distance apart, body a straight line from head to ankles (I find sometimes leaning into my hands I’m a straighter when looking sideways. This way my shoulders are direct over my hands). Draw core/abs in, hips are level, bum squeezed. Try to maintain this position throughout the all the moves. You’ll find you’ll sway side to side slightly, but try not to let those hips drop and keep core tight to resist rotating!
When I can I’ve include a link with demos. My accompanying stickmen weren’t playing.
Tap alternating opposite hand to shoulder. Both shoulders 1 rep!
Opposite Hip Tap
Same as opposite shoulder tap, this time tap alternating opposite hand to hip as if you were going to hug yourself. Alternating taps, 1 rep!
Plank Side Arm Tap Out
Tap left arm out to the left side of the mat. Return to starting position, tap right hand out to the right side of the mat (1 rep). If this is easy, add slides or paper plates under the hands and slide the hands out.
With a dumbbell, extend left arm out to shoulder height, just like a regular fly. Return to start. Repeat the other side for one rep. Resistance bands can replace dumbbells.
Front Arm Tap Out
Tap right hand directly forward, return to starting position, tap left hand directly out in front, 1 rep. Targets the upper back. If you want to make it harder, use slides or paper plates.
Punch alternate arm out in front to shoulder height. Weight optional! Alternate punch, 1 rep.
From plank position, lower one at time arms to elbows (shoulder and elbows in line), then one arm at time push back up to full plank (1 rep). Try alternating starting arm each set or each rep.
From plank position, with dumbbells, draw one arm back to the chest, tucking elbow to side, lower, repeat same side or alternate. Weight optional.
Same as plank row, only this time extend arm and dumbbell out behind performing a tricep kick back before lowering. Same side or alternate. Weights optional
From plank, rotate to one side, stacking shoulders, creating a T position with arms. Lower repeat same side or alternate. Dumbbells optional, but will target the shoulders more. You can also row through to side plank.
If you want to make these more challenging elevate the legs on a bench or stability ball. That will fire everything up and if anything feels uncomfortable stop!
What are your favourite plank and abs exercises that also target the arms? What people habits you notice are changing now the season’s switched?