Elevate Your Ab Workout While You Build Up Your Back | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Elevate Your Ab Workout While You Build Up Your Back

Your core is for more important things than just looking ripped. A strong core helps you to have a stronger body overall, since you use those muscles to maintain stability and balance.

Planks are an all-time classic core stability exercise—but you’ve probably held the position a million times over your training career. If you’re ready to level up your plank, take on this workout from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., that adds some weight, elevation, and some isometric action to challenge your core like never before.

“This move is all about anti-rotation and it’s a move that will make both your planks and your renegade rows vastly better,” says Samuel. “It’s also a super scaleable move. Advanced users can do this with a challenging weight, a 40- or 50-pound dumbbell and really battle to accumulate your 30 seconds or hold time per side. Or you can easily do this with a 10-pound dumbbell or even a gallon jug of water.”

Watch the full workout below.

The real challenge comes when you compensate for the weight of the dumbbell. “That load is going to drag your torso down to one side, even when it’s rowed up,” says Samuel. “Your game plan: resist that and don’t let it happen. The trick: when you resist you’ll be tempted to overcompensate, rotating your torso up too high to offset the load. You have to work to stay disciplined through your glutes and obliques on the loaded side to keep your hips and shoulders square. “

To take on the elevated plank row hold, you’ll need a bench and dumbbells. If you need a solid set of weights for home, check out this option from Bowflex—unless you’re good with that gallon jug.

  • Get into a plank position, putting your weight on one forearm on a bench. Squeeze your core and glutes to keep your spine straight.
  • Grab your dumbbell with the other arm. Squeeze your back muscles to row up until the weight touches your ribcage, then hold it there for 30 seconds.
  • Continue to squeeze your back, core, and glutes to avoid falling out of balance.
  • Switch arms and repeat on the other side.

This motion might feel familiar. “You’re essentially discovering the ideal tension you need to execute clean planks and renegade rows, and you’re also getting some unique back iso hold work too,” says Samuel.

Aim to do 30 seconds of work per side, and take on 1 or 2 sets. Since the move is so versatile, you can think of it as a back or core finisher, or as a great option for total body workouts.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health

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