Planks and jumping jacks are perfectly fine workout moves. But if you combine the two together, you can actually get an even better total-body workout. Meet: the plank jack!
Plank jacks involve keeping your body in a plank position, while jumping both legs out into a wide V, and then hopping them back together again. The move challenges both your core and shoulder stability, and it’s definitely worth adding to your next workout routine if you’re trying to sculpt your arms and abs at the same time.
Sounds good, right? That’s why I’m here to teach you everything you need to know about plank jacks: form tips, variations, benefits, and more.
How To Do Plank Jacks
Form tips: Be careful not to overarch your lower back before you start jumping by drawing your belly button to your spine. This will prevent from possible back injuries.
Reps/sets for best results: I recommend doing three sets of as many reps as possible for 45–60 seconds, with a 20 second recovery in between.
Benefits Of Plank Jacks
Plank jacks combine the technique of both jumping jacks and planks to provide you with some serious total-body benefits. For starters, your core will be challenged throughout the entire move. You’ll have to stabilize it in order to complete the jump without lifting your hips up or letting them sag toward the floor.
You’ll also reap the benefits of increased shoulder stability, since you’ll be in the plank position the whole time and it’ll be necessary to hold your full bodyweight up with your arms whenever your feet leave the floor.
Finally, you’ll be squeezing in some worthwhile cardio, which means you’ll have the chance to get your heart rate up and ensure that oxygen and blood are moving through you muscles.
Modifications Of Plank Jacks
- Use your forearms: Sometimes plank jacks can be tough on your wrists, especially if you’re not used to doing the move. So to avoid injury, I recommend dropping down into a low plank on your forearms and then complete the move.
- Swap the jump for step outs: Try doing alternating toe taps, stepping one foot out wide at a time, instead of jumping with both feet simultaneously. This will lower the impact of the move for those of who need it and make it less of a cardio exercise.
How To Add Plank Jacks To Your Workout
- Try it with a hollow hold: I love this pairing. I usually recommend doing a 20 second hollow hold—lie down on your mat with your back sealed to the floor and lift your legs and arms out straight, as low to the floor as possible without bringing your back off the mat—to really fire up your core. Then flip over and go into plank jumps. Your abs will both hate and thank you later.
- Add it to your warm up: I would do plank jumps at the end of your warm up after you’ve done some other mobility moves. This way you’re avoiding injury by not jumping right into a shoulder and wrist heavy movement. Doing plank jumps at the end of a workout also ensures that your heart rate is up and ready to go for your actual workout.
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