August 3 2017
Athlete, fitness professional and certified personal trainer Darien Hawkins, PES, NASM-CPT, offers tips on strength training for runners.
If you’ve been incorporating planks into your core workout routine, I’ve got a fun and easy way for you to mix it up: ball squeezes. Adding in this simple addition to your plank workouts will challenge your muscles differently than ordinary planks will. All you need to get started is an inflatable ball, yoga block or pillow. So grab one of those things and give these two plank variations a try!
When doing your planks, place a ball, yoga block or pillow between your thighs and just above your knees. Squeeze the ball as tight as possible and set yourself up in a forearm plank position. While maintaining a neutral spine, hold your plank and the ball squeeze for 1 minute or as long as you can with while keeping good form.
For your second exercise, keep the ball between your thighs and come into a forearm plank position. This time, instead of keeping a tight squeeze on the ball, block, or pillow squeeze the ball and hold it for one second, release the squeeze on the ball and repeat. Do 15-25 squeezes then take a break.
Adding a squeeze will engage your adductors and inner quadricep muscles (the vastus medialis). You may also find that when you squeeze the ball you are able to activate the deeper muscles of your abdominal wall a little differently than you do when performing a regular plank.