The exercise links up three of the hardest core moves—the classic plank, the pike plank, and the bear plank—and the result is an intense compound series. Unlike the static plank, which involves holding still in the position for a set amount of time, this version involves nonstop movement that will spike your heart rate and leave you drenched in sweat. “I love creating a move that works multiple muscle groups at once —and a fun plank variation will do just that,” says Robbins. “This exercise works deep core stabilizers with the plank, your legs and glutes as you push into the bear plank, and your arms and back muscles as you hold your weight while your body moves from position to position. Plus, doing it repetitively at a quick pace spikes the heart rate and challenges the cardiovascular system.”
To try the move for yourself, you’ll want to start out in a bear plank with your hands planted under your shoulders and your knees bent and lifted a few inches off of the floor. Then, hop your feet straight back behind you so that you’re holding a full, straight arm plank. Lift your hips into the sky for a pike position (for a real challenge, lower your head toward the ground for a pike push-up), then hop your feet back in for a bear plank and do it again.
Each of these individual exercises target your core, glutes, and shoulders, and doing them together will give you a triple dose of work in all three areas. Plus, the explosive element you get when you’re jumping from one type of plank into another adds some ever-important cardio and mobility into the mix. Try to cycle through three 30-second intervals (with 20 seconds of rest in between), and after a single set you’ll see firsthand just how effective planks can be for building strength.
Before you move on to this advanced move, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got your standard plank down pat. Follow along with the video below to confirm you’re doing it right.
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