Fitness Tips

If You’ve Perfected the Traditional Plank Try the Challenging, Ab-Quivering Copenhagen Variation

Tamara Pridgett

Photo: Getty Images/ jacoblund
Planks always leave me shaking after a few reps, and that's what makes the move such a go-to. As a trainer, I like to change things up, and I'm always coming across new plank variations. My current favorite is the Copenhagen plank, which my physical therapist threw into my post-hip surgery rehab routine. While it's a challenge to perform, I've noticed a major change in my core strength, and as a result, my sprinting workouts have improved because of it.

I could spend all day talking about the benefits of having a strong core, but I'll spare you. Instead, just know that your core is ultimately the root of all movement. It allows you to bend over and pick things up, it helps stabilize your spine and pelvis, and when you're doing high-impact forms of training like sprinting, a strong core will stabilize your body and allow you to perform those tasks optimally.

"I commonly prescribe the Copenhagen plank for athletes recovering from a strain of the thigh musculature, namely the hamstrings, adductors, and inner groin," says David Jou, PT, DPT, co-founder of Motivny in New York City. Even if you haven't experienced this type of injury, the Copenhagen plank can improve your overall wellbeing and performance. "Often neglected, these muscles are particularly important to maintain balance and decelerate movement," explains Dr. Jou. Plus, doing this plank variation can help make lateral and rotational movements more powerful, efficient, and most importantly safer.

If you're ready to add this plank variation to your routine to improve your performance or you're just tired of forearm planks, we've got you covered. Here's how to do it.

How to do a Copenhagen plank

1. You'll need a bench or a stable object to perform the Copenhagen plank. Begin by lying on your right side with your shoulder, elbow, and forearm stacked in a straight line.

2. Place your left foot on top of the bench with your right leg suspended underneath the bench.

3. With control, drive your forearm into the ground as you simultaneously lift your body up off the ground. Your forearm should be directly underneath your shoulder, and your body should be in a straight line perpendicular to the bench. Make sure not to let your bottom hip/side body sag toward the ground.

4. Hold for five breaths or for 15 seconds, then repeat on the left side. If you're more of a visual learner, check out the Copenhagen plank tutorial above.

Need help nailing your side plank? Check out this helpful tutorial: 

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