Let’s be real: planks can be as boring as watching paint dry.
In fact, I can’t think of one athlete that jumps for joy, does cartwheels, and worships me when I tell them to perform a plank.
More often than not, I get eye rolls, sighs, and death stares.
However, I do believe planks have their time and place, as mundane as they may be. First, they’re an excellent starting point to teach core stability. Second, they’re great for learning how to maintain simultaneous tension of the core and glutes (see RKC plank). Third, they prepare our athletes for more advanced core variations. Last, they build character.
Once people have graduated from planks, it’s time to up the ante. This way, people are progressing, as well as evading monotony.
Here are 3 new core exercises that are challenging and NOT boring:
1.) Controlled Mountain Climber
This is not to be confused with the usual mountain climber that screams herniated disc and “you’re a moron.”
Here is an excellent video by Nick Tumminello on how to do proper mountain climbers:
As you can see the wrong version ignores core stiffness and puts a lot of stress on the lower back.
With that said, it’s in your best interest to SLOW DOWN first.
Try this Controlled Mountain Climber:
What I love about this is it allows us to dissociate the hips from the lumbar spine. We’re better able to activate our hip flexors and fire our anterior core. Try performing this slow and controlled for 30-60 seconds. It’s not as easy as it looks.
2.) Plank Bird Dog
Bird dogs are another exercise that athletes aren’t too pumped about. Arguably, I also find it more boring than a plank.
So try this:
See what I did there? I combined the 2 most boring core exercises and made it into one awesome exercise. Mind blown.
This is an excellent movement for training contralateral coordination, hip stability, core stability, and shoulder stability.
3.) Hollow Hold with Belly Breathing
A hollow hold is the easiest looking exercise, but most difficult to perform.
The goal is to keep the legs straight, head and shoulders off the ground, and chin tucked in. Here you go:
Placing the hands overhead also increases the tension on the anterior core. This exercise has an excellent carryover to pull ups as well. If you can hold this for 30-60 seconds, you’re a badass.
But. Don’t forget to breathe through your diaphragm by keeping your mouth closed and inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
So there you are. 3 exciting core exercises to improve your physique and athleticism.
If you want some more resources on core training check these out: