Planks are a great way to strengthen core muscles and improve balance and alignment. But their static nature can be dull. This dynamic variation adds dumbbells and row movements to a plank-like pose, working the back, shoulders and arms. The move takes the abdominal busting benefits of the plank to the next level by forcing the core to keep the body straight while alternating arms and toning the back when performing a traditional row.
Place two dumbbells (preferably hexagonal ones for better stability) or kettlebells on the floor about shoulder width apart. Grab the weights and walk back into a push-up position, keeping feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Like a plank, keep a straight line from head to heal—the stomach should not dip nor should hips be in the air. Tighten the abs as if bracing for a punch.
Lift the right arm straight back with the elbow in, pulling the dumbbell to the chest, while pressing the left hand into the ground. Do not twist the hips or shoulders. Return the right arm to the starting position and repeat the movement with the opposite side. Start with weights light enough to complete 10 reps. Make the workout more challenging by adding a push-up after each set of rows, which works the chest.
Demonstrated here by Mike Lynch, a personal trainer with 20 years of experience and the owner of lynchfit.com