A plank twist or plank with a twist is one of the most effective exercises to target and strengthen the abs, obliques, and core. It is basically a beginner-level Pilates compound movement that helps trim down your waist and tightens the area around your abdomen and hips.
Not only does this core-killing exercise work wonders for the midsection, but it also targets the shoulders and helps strengthen them. Additionally, this exercise is a great way to boost your body balance and glute strength as well.
Although it is an easy exercise, it is recommended that you first master the traditional plank to learn the basics. Once you are well-versed with the standard plank, try the plank twist and level up your core workout routine by performing it with crunches and other abs exercises.
How to Do the Plank Twist?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can perform this core-strengthening exercise correctly:
Step 1: Take the standard plank position. To do this, start by lying face down on the ground and placing your forearms and toes on the floor. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders.
Step 2: Lift your hips off the ground slowly and stabilize your body while making sure your back is straight and stable.
Step 3: Now, with your abs tight and your navel pulled in towards your spine, twist your hips to the right until the side of your hip nearly touches the floor. Pause and then return to the initial position.
Step 4: From there, twist your hips to the left and keep lowering until your hips touch the floor. Return to the start and repeat the exercise for a few more reps.
When done correctly, the plank twist exercise primarily targets the obliques, which are the side muscles of the core. The secondary muscles targeted are the lower back, abdominals, and glutes.
Alongside these, several other muscles are trained during this exercise, including the quadriceps, trapezius, shoulders, hamstrings, and arms.
How to Do the Side Plank Twist?
The side plank twist is a major variation of the plank twist that combines a standard side plank with a twist or rotation. This exercise targets the same muscles–abs and obliques–and is considered an incredible bodyweight exercise to build massive strength and stability in the core.
How to Perform?
Step 1: Take a side plank position by lying on your right side and stacking your feet on top of one another. Place your right palm or elbow on the floor directly under your shoulder and maintain this position.
Step 2: Place your left hand on your waist or behind your head and engage your core. Now lift your hips and make sure that only your feet and arm are in contact with the floor. Ensure that your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels.
Step 3: Maintain this position, rotate your left shoulder by twisting at your waist and bringing your left elbow near your right hand. Return to the start and repeat the movement on the other side.
What Are the Benefits?
The plank twist strengthens the oblique muscles and also helps create a more defined and toned waist. It targets and strengthens shoulders, glutes, arms, quadriceps, and hamstrings as well.
A strong core not only gives out chiseled abs but also reduces your chances of injuries, especially when undertaking other weight-lifting exercises and even when performing everyday chores and movements such as bending, leaning backwards, twisting, and more.
Developing a strong core also prevents muscle imbalance between the back and front side of the body and furthermore, reduces the pressure on the lower back. This, as a result, prevents lower back pain and keeps the spine healthy and functioning well.
The twisting movement helps boost flexibility in the spine and also improves stability, balance, and overall posture.
When practicing a plank twist, it is important to control the twisting motion to help prevent any type of strain or injury. Do not allow your hips to touch the floor when initiating a twist and also keep your elbows stable throughout the exercise to maintain proper balance. If you have existing lower back pain or related injuries, talk to your doctor before attempting this exercise.