Weighted Planks: Next Level Core Workout

Planks are very effective at building a strong core. However they can be extremely boring especially if you can hold the plank for a long amount of time.

Furthermore, it begins to feel like an endurance exercise as opposed to strength training.


What is the Optimal Plank Duration?

For hypertrophy it is said that 5-12 reps is the sweet spot for muscle growth. And anything over 20 reps is mostly training endurance.

Most likely something similar applies to isometric exercises like the plank.

What is the hypertrophy range for isometrics?

At a 2:1:1 tempo takes around 20 seconds for 5 reps and about 48 seconds for 12 reps.

Therefore its fair to say for isometrics we want to stay in between 15-48 seconds if we are wanting a good balance of strength and hypertrophy.

If you can perform a plank for over 48 seconds, it is advisable you consider making the plank more challenging!


Weighted Planks To The Rescue!

This is where weighed Planks come useful!

The best way to perform a weighted plank is to use a weight vest. This way you don’t need to worry about the plate sliding down or off your back!

Another option is a partner to help place the weight on your back and watch over it to prevent it from falling off.

We recommend the weight to be distributed on your lower to mid back.

Imagine you body if like a bridge. You want to put the weight where a bridge is most vulnerable, which is the middle.

If the weight is on too high up your body,  it won’t feel challenging on your core.

Therefore a vest with adjustable shoulder straps is beneficial as you should extend the straps all the way so the weights will be in an ideal place.

How to Weighted Plank

Pick a weight that you can hold for around 30 seconds.

Perform this for 3 sets!

Gradually as you improve you can increase the weight you are loading! This is progressive overload!

Lastly, be sure you are not sacrificing form to compensate for the added weight.

Your shoulder should be depressed, your hips should be tilted forward and your glutes tensed!

Lengthening the Lever

Similar to other isometric excersises you can also change the dificulty of the plank by lengthening the lever.

This is similar to how a tuck planche is easier than a full planche.

By putting your eblows further ahead of you, the tension on your core will be increased!

Weighted Plank Variation

There are two variations we recommend which works the other muscles around your core.

The first variation Is the side plank.

These are great for you obliques! Be sure to perform them on both sides! Furthermore, you can make this a dynamic movement by lowering and raising your hips if you want to make it even more challenging!

The second variation is the reverse plank.

This is a great variation to work your spinal erectors, lower back and rear delts.


About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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