Exercise of the Week

Swiss Ball Plank Variations

We’ve all done planks before.  Front planks, side planks, you name it and you’ve probably done it.  The reason for this is because the plank is one of the best overall core exercises that you can do.  But, it does get a little boring just holding the same position time after time.  Very effective, yes, but mundane also.  So, here are a few new variations using the Swiss ball.  These variations will make the plank MUCH more difficult.  I urge you to try them, but if you are unsure, start with a simple plank hold on the ball.

Plank Rollouts

This is a small, but effective, movement.  If you roll the ball all the way out to where your arms arms straight, that’s awesome.  But, you can usually get plenty out of the exercise with a short roll out like I am doing here.  Make sure to keep your hips down and forward the whole time.  Your body should be in a straight, flat line.  If you want to try this exercise but cannot go from your feet, simply drop down to your knees and go through the same motion.  NOTE: Do NOT go out so far that you feel a burn or pulling sensation in your low back.  If you are feeling pain that means you have gone too and your core will not be able to support you.  Stay within your limits and this will make for a great exercise.

Plank Knees to Chest

Same starting position here.  Instead of rolling out, however, you will alternate pulling one knee straight forward toward the chest.  What makes this movement more difficult is that you are now focusing not only on moving front to back with your knee, but balancing on one leg rather than two.  You will definitely have to use your core here to keep from moving side to side throughout the movement.  Try to keep the movement controlled in order to focus on balance and core strengthening.

High Plank Knees to Chest

To me, this is the toughest variation of this movement.  With just your hands on the ball, you have less contact area with the ball (Think of walking in high heels versus flat shoes).  With your forearms, you have more balance on the ball.  Using just your hands, you now have to balance using both your feet AND your hands.  This variation takes this movement to the next level.  Again, focus on keeping those abs tight in order to keep from moving side to side throughout the exercises.  I like to go slower through the movement, but you can add a cardio aspect into it by increasing the speed.  Be careful, though, as this will make balancing much more difficult.




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