Plank is an exercise that would probably go on forever. It is just undeniably the most common and, not to mention, effective exercise to tone your abs, press hard your core, and strengthen your shoulders.
A lot of gym people say that the plank is the friendliest exercise of all as it never gets old, it never lets you down, and it lets you go into your own pace. Whether you’re a beginner, or you are Ronnie Coleman, a plank is always beneficial for you.
For years, strategies and different variations of planks had been invented by famous bodybuilders and athletes. Each plank variation brings about different effects on your body. Although some of them are totally good, some of them are not so advisable for everyone to follow.
But one of the most amazing plank variations which we are going to talk about is the plank twist. You might have heard about it as it has become really famous these days. We have seen J-lo and runway models do it a couple of times. Today, we will be discovering the incredible benefits that we might possibly get if we do the plank twist, and of course, we will teach you the proper guide in doing this exercise.
And, if you will read more, we will also incorporate in this article several alternative exercises that have identical (or almost identical) benefits with that of the plank twist. So, let’s get started!
First of all…
What is a Plank Twist?
You might have heard someone call it twist plank or plank with a twist. It is an exercise that works on your core muscles, your abs, your obliques, and your shoulders. It is also a great way to improve your body balance. Later, we will dig in more about the benefits of this amazing exercise.
A lot of people know about the plank twist, but what most people don’t know is that this exercise has a lot of variations, and we do mean a lot. If you look it up online, there are tons of information about the plank twist that you would get confused as to which to follow and which is accurate.
Don’t worry, we will save you from all the hassle and once and for all, save you from all the confusion. We are going to lay down the basic and the proper way of doing the plank twist.
Proper Guide to Plank Twist
No better way to understand what this exercise does and how it works on your body than to take note of the proper guide to this exercise. Learn how to execute these steps accurately.
- The first step that you need to do is to start in a top plank position.
- Make sure that your back is flat, and your hands are in line with your shoulders to have a nice, good control position.
- Shift your lean support back and not forward. Keep your butt down low and not up in the air.
- Now, let’s perform the steps. The goal is to take one knee forward and twist it towards the opposite elbow. So you want to start with your right knee, take it forward and twist it up bringing it in the direction towards your left elbow. Same steps go for the left knee.
- Remember that the lower you go, the more you would feel more contraction into your lower abdominal.
Plank Twist Variations
As we said, one beautiful fact about this exercise is that it never gets old and boring! There are so many fun plank twist variations that you can try. They are all perfect for building your core muscles, your obliques, your butt, and your hamstrings, just like the plank twist.
We honestly thought that you would want to know all of them, so we prepared a list for you.
Plank Hip Twist
Plank hip twist is one fun plank twist variation. It is all about whittling down the waist and strengthening out the obliques.
So, you want to go ahead and start out in a plank position.
Then you want to lift yourself up, making sure your tailbone tucked bellybutton in.
Press your hip down to one side, then you lift it up. And that’s it! Do the steps alternately with each hip side by side, slightly touching your hip against the mat.
Note: Make sure that you never hurt your lower back while you do the twist on each hip side. Basically, that’s all how you do the plank with hip twist.
Plank Oblique Twist
Another plank twist variant is the plank oblique twist or the forearm plank oblique twist. It is a very complicated name but it has pretty simple moves.
So, the same goes for your first position. Come into your forearms in a plank position.
Make sure that the feet are going to be at least shoulder distance apart.
Then you rotate your pelvis to one side with your feet, then get back to the center.
Rotate your pelvis now to the other side, with your feet then come back to the center.
The goal is to keep the shoulders as square as possible so that you get that desired rotation through the spine and through the hip joint.
So, rotate, rotate, rotate!
Plank twist with arms raised
This next plank twist variant is a little confusing. Now a lot of people think that this is the basic or the original plank twist, but the steps actually constitute plank twist with arms raised. Although it is still safe to say that this is also a plank twist, it is really one different technique of plank twist.
So all you need to do in this exercise is to start off with a planking position but this time with your hands on the floor, supporting your body and your forearms.
Most people like to lift their butts a little bit higher.
Then you raise one arm high, which would twist your body in effect.
After that, you take it back down, then raise your other arm on its side upward and twist your body to the opposite direction this time.
We must say, that this is by far the easiest and the least complicated plank twist variant.
Plank Hip Dips
The plank hip dips may actually be the most famous plank twist variation. The plank hip dips are actually crowned as the greatest abs killer plank twist. This exercise focuses on your core as much as it can.
First thing’s first is, of course, go into a plank position. Plank into your forearms, you may want to lay your hands flat on the floor or you may form hand fists.
After you balance everything out, straighten your feet, you need to lift yourself a little high.
Then you scoop the core with your hips by dipping your hips to the side, making it parallel to the floor. You want to really dip and touch your hip to the floor.
Then you dip the other side of your hip. And do the steps vice, versa.
Amazing benefits of plank twist that you need to know
While there are tons of exercises in the world that promise to tone your body, shape your 6 packs and harden your core, there are only a few exercises that can really strengthen your muscles. Planks are one of them.
Needless to say, that it is not enough to just have a hot-looking body with sexy abs, you’ve got to have a healthy body, strong core muscles, and improved mobility and stability.
Let’s discuss what good can we get from plank twist, and why plank twist continues to be a great exercise to incorporate in our routine.
Plank twist activates more muscles in your body
One thing that other core exercises like crunches and sit-ups can’t do is activating your entire muscles from different parts of your body in one exercise. Crunches can be easily dangerous to your back. It may cause harm to your spine later on as you continually hit your back towards the floor. Plank twist doesn’t just activate your core muscles, it let’s all your muscles from your shoulders, your hamstrings, your butt, your obliques, and other muscles participate in the game.
Plank twist improves your body posture
If you sit into your working desk all day, you might end having a poor body posture and slouchy back. Don’t worry, here’s the game changer! Plank twist can improve your body posture.
Doing this exercise will strengthen your chest muscles, straighten your back, taking your entire body back into its normal shape.
Plank twist also develops your isometric strength, that’s in your abs and core muscles. This strength will keep you from hunching when you are sitting down or standing up.
Plank twist improves mobility and balance
As we said earlier, there is no better balance exercise than the plank twist. It keeps you maintain a steady hold of your body whether you are walking and standing or doing activities on a daily basis. But, do you know that plank twist can also improve your agility and mobility?
Yes, that’s right! Plank twist can also improve your mobility as it teaches your body muscles to be more flexible and strong. It also improves your endurance and agility. Amazing, right?
5 Alternatives with the same (or almost the same) benefits
As promised, we will also incorporate 5 alternative exercises that have identical or almost identical effects that plank twist does to your body. In other words, these exercises, in a way or another, tone your body shape, strengthen your core muscles and harden your shoulders, too. So, let’s find out what are these exercises.
1. Side Plank Twist
Most people refer to side plank twist as twisting plank as well. This exercise involves more arms movement and targets your arm muscles more as it has a single-hold of each arm variation.
So, this exercise is great for your balance as well, and of course, for strengthening your core. You may refer to this link to have a full view guide of this exercise.
2. Side Plank Crunch
This exercise involves more leg and knees movement. Side plank is a little bit hard as an exercise, but it gets better when you are used to doing planks.
Side plank crunch incorporates more balance and endurance performance.
3. Spider man
The spider man or the spider man plank is more of another plank variation.
The spider man exercise is great in developing your breathing as well. Which is amazing to those who have difficulty in breathing or those who have poor blood circulation.
4. Side plank crunch hips
Basically, this exercise is just a side plank crunch which involves more hips. This is pretty challenging and so we slightly recommend this to beginners. This exercise will definitely burn out your belly fats and enhance your glutes and your obliques. Amazing exercise.
5. Planking and trunk rotations
The planking and trunk rotation is an exercise that would develop your core control, or even your control of your body.
This would tone up your abs like no other while targeting your hamstrings, your glutes, and your obliques.
To avoid confusions, we are going to incorporate the basic steps for this exercise.
Step by Step Process
- First, you are to position yourself in a planking position.
- Then you basically rotate your entire body up and down, letting your core burn to ashes as it shifts your body high up and down low.
- We recommend involving your arms with this exercise by lifting it up and backward. This way, it would help lift your body up.
So, that’s pretty much it. We hope that you enjoy learning different plank twist variation. We really do hope that the exercise and its variations will inspire you to work out, inspire you to improve your body and your body’s strength. May you have a happy workout day!