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SARAHD33 SparkPoints: (35,053)
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1/23/13 3:45 P

As a plug for the newest book in the New Rules of Lifting series (NROL Supercharged), there is an entire core chapter. All of the exercises in that chapter are progressively more and more challenging versions of planks. Lots of fun.

LARKUN7701 SparkPoints: (4,051)
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1/23/13 3:12 P

Forearm planks should be harder(for your core). The closer you are to vertical the less work your core needs to be doing to keep your body straight. By extending your arms out you are changing the angle of your body and shifting some of the work away from your core. Level should be the most work for your core. Moving either your upper body below or above the plane of your feet will shift some of the work to your legs or shoulders.

ASHLING9 SparkPoints: (11,195)
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1/23/13 1:32 P

I'm with the people that say the forearm push-ups are harder! I'm currently doing a plank a day challenge that mixes the two and adds side planks. It's a total of 2.5 minutes and looks like this:

15sec forearm plank
15 sec straight arm plank
15 sec right side straight arm plank
15 sec right side forearm plank
15 sec forearm plank
15 sec straight arm plank
15 sec left side straight arm plank
15 sec left side forearm plank
15 sec forearm plank
15 sec straight arm plank

I feel like the transitioning to the different variations is a good total body workout in and of itself!

LUCKYNUMBER23 SparkPoints: (12,425)
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1/23/13 1:30 P

My trainer had me start with both arms down, take my right arm up then my left, back down with left then right and then alternate.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,536)
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1/23/13 12:54 P

Ooooh, that one's a good one, Archimedes. My trainer used to make us do those once in a while. Seriously good workout! You're awesome.

Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.

I'm not pregnant, just fat: My blog.
ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (159,468)
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1/23/13 12:33 P

reverse planks are really challenging. Start with bridge. I think the bridge is one of the best core exercises. I use it regularly when I teach the "ABs" portion of my class.

There are a ton of plank variations out there. I learned this variation in yoga. Start in modified plank position on your forearms. Now, dip your right hip to the right and try to touch the ground with your hip. Go back to center. Then dip your left hip to the left and try to touch the ground. back to center. alternate left/right hip dips while still in plank. Don't rush to raise your HR. go nice and slow. it works great. try it for 30 secs. you'll feel it.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (75,327)
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1/23/13 10:38 A

SNAZZYMC - haha, I say the same thing to myself - UP UP DOWN DOWN, interspersed with cursing under my breath because they hurt so good

- Kristen
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JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (80,279)
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1/23/13 8:25 A

I started with the modified plank (forearms) and now do the the straight-arm plank. So I'm finding the straight arm harder. Probably like you said it just matters which one you're used to that will be the easiest, except I was used to the modified plank.

I do a few compound planks right now. Walking planks, plank twists (a killer on my obliques and entire abs, I love them and really feel the crunch), side raise planks with a barbell, side raise planks with a crunch.

Take your focus off the Marshmallow.

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SNAZZYMC Posts: 267
1/23/13 7:40 A

I used to do a combo, the hi-low plank, which sounds like what KRISTEN_SAYS described: start in a forearm plank, then move into a full plank one arm at a time. My internal mantra when I did these was "up, up, down, down, up, up, down, down"! The challenge, I found, was in keeping the core engaged and maintaining the 'flat line' of the plank, even when transitioning up and down.
Found these were killer....which makes me now think I need to bring these back into my routine!!

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BERTA6978 SparkPoints: (40,951)
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1/22/13 6:39 P

My trainer is having me do the forearm plank on a stability ball. UGH! I find that extremely difficult and uncomfortable, so am doing the palm plank (no ball). My wrists hurt, but I'm hoping that will go away as I gain strength.

Edited by: BERTA6978 at: 1/22/2013 (18:39)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,536)
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1/22/13 5:10 P

Reverse plank is evil, but really effective. I love planks in any form... they hurt so good!

I'm kinda going for a full-body workout, so I may go with both varieties; hit the core, shoulders, and back all at once.

And in turn build up pushup strength. :)

Let's hear it for strength training!

Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.

I'm not pregnant, just fat: My blog.
SNOWJESTER SparkPoints: (29,896)
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1/22/13 4:44 P

I'm with the people who say the forearm plank is harder. I know it's supposed to be the modified version but I can't hold it that long. And the reverse plank is heinous.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (107,816)
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1/22/13 12:43 P

how about reverse planks? Looks so simple, but I cannot hold those for more than a few seconds!

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CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (49,622)
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1/22/13 12:05 P

Thanks for asking this!

I just started trying forearm planks, and I find them much more difficult than the straight arm ones I'm used to. I feel like I'm getting more out of the straight arm right now, just because the forearm ones are uncomfortable enough that I find myself shifting around and struggling - but I was also worried that the straight arms are too easy.

I really like the push-up/plank combo idea. I think I'm going to have to give that a try!

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
1/22/13 10:15 A

If you are looking for shoulder/arm strength, you may want to stick with straight arm. I feel it more in my core when I do forearm. Also don't forget the side plank. These are tough too.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (75,327)
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1/22/13 10:02 A

I find forearm planks more difficult than straight arm planks as well, probably because I've been doing straight arm planks for so long. What I like to do is start on my forearms then straighten one arm at a time into a straight arm plank then move back into a forearm plank one arm at a time. I do 10 or so reps of this.

- Kristen
Weight loss blog:

Happiness is just a step away.
NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
1/22/13 5:52 A

I've always done them on my palms, rather than on my forearms. I think if you are doing pushups too, it just makes sense, plus it is meant to be slightly more difficult on palms than on forearms. If forearms feel more difficult now, it's probably just because you aren't used to it.

I always cross my feet when I do planks and pushups (except decline pushups) to support my lower back. This is unpopular but it helps me.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (132,549)
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1/22/13 5:16 A

straight arm planks are harder, because of a longer lever. I have wrist problems so I almost always do them forearm (with certain variations to make it more challenging - google RKC plank)

"Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us." - Deena Kastor

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H0KIE_GIRL SparkPoints: (3,588)
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1/21/13 11:53 P

At least in attack the style of plank we use depends on the exercise. If we're just doing step/jump out/in then its normally forearms down. But when we incorporate a push up what we do is palm down, step right, step middle, triceps push up, step left, step middle, triceps push up and continuously repeat.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,536)
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1/21/13 11:27 P

I've got a rather technical question. I love (hate) planks... they're awesome exercises! However, there's two ways of doing them that I know. One is basically where you stop at the top of a pushup... on your palms, arms more or less straight. Your back is at an incline.

In my classes at the gym, though, the trainer had us do it down on our forearms, with our backs mostly level and straight.

So; what is the difference between these two? The forearm planks feel tougher to me, but that may just be because I've done many of them, and almost none of the other kind. On the recommendation of someone here (thanks Archimedes!) I'm going to be doing some pushup/plank combos. (5 pushups, 30 seconds of plank, alternating back and forth.) What would be best, pushups with a straight arm plank, pushups with a forearm plank, or a mixture of both, maybe alternating?

I'll probably have to do some modified pushups in there until I rebuild my strength; I was up to 15 regular pushups, now I can't do but 4 or 5 at a time.

I'm going for core and arm/shoulder strength here. I love the feeling a tough plank gives me, and pushups... gah. Maybe I do have an addiction to fitness. I love that burn!

Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.

I'm not pregnant, just fat: My blog.
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