At first glance, this week’s movement looks as though it is a plank gone a little wrong! Instead, it is a wonderful variation on everyone’s all-time favorite exercise.
Well, maybe “favorite” and “wonderful” are not the first words that spring to mind when performing a plank, especially after exceeding the first-minute mark, but this exercise will make your tummy tighter and your core stronger, so we love it, right?
Practice the plank hip drop to effectively work your oblique muscles without going into a side plank. The obliques are the cross sectional muscles that cross your trunk from your ribcage to your hips. They are used to move the trunk in rotation and lateral bending movements. When well-formed they look like a shield on the side of your waist, particularly on men.
Start in your basic plank position with your body weight resting evenly between your elbows and your toes. If you need to modify this, begin by resting your weight on your elbows and your knees.
Keep the spine straight and your deep core muscles activated (by keeping your navel drawn in) to prevent the overuse of your lower-back muscles.
Drop your right hipbone toward the floor, and hold this position for one to three seconds. Return it back to the starting position. Repeat the hip drop on the left side for the same amount of time to complete one repetition.
Breathe in as you lower the hip and breathe out as you lift it. The rest of your body should stay quite still; move only your hips.
Complete two sets of ten repetitions, resting for about a minute between each set. You can build this up as your body gets stronger by either adding more repetitions or adding another set.
Change the side you lead with. If you always lead with one side, it will result in imbalances in strength levels between the left and right side of the body.
Remember to breathe!
Relax your shoulders. Do not slump, arch, or round your back. You can ask a friend to check your form for you, or check in a mirror.
Share this exercise with your training buddy, life partner, or best friend for increased popularity!
Emma-Kate Stampton is a personal trainer and Pilates teacher. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.