Commando’s exercise is an exercise that goes by many names; commando plank, military plank or simply ‘up-downs’.
It is a compound exercise that works your shoulders, chest, arms and core.
This exercise relies on your bodyweight to perform and the only equipment you might need is a mat to keep your elbows more comfortable if you are exercising on a hard floor.
They can also be incorporated into any style of training whether you are working out from home, at the gym or outdoors.
Commando’s exercise is among the most challenging along with push-ups, planks and wall-sits and most people try to substitute them in their workouts.
This exercise however has a wide range of benefits to your body when done correctly.
This exercise is also great for keeping your heart rate elevated and strengthening your core when included in a high intensity workout.
In addition, your legs and bum will have to get involved to help you stabilize.
HOW TO DO COMMANDO’S EXERCISE PROPERLY
- To do commando’s exercise you need to start off in a standard plank position, wrist to elbow on the mat or floor, forearms shoulder-width apart on your mat and your feet hip-width apart.
- Engage your core while keeping your head neutral and stationary and squeeze your glutes.
- Keep your hips stable and back as flat as possible. Good form is very important when doing this exercise.
- Push up onto your right hand until the right arm is straight and then follow the left arm to come into a high plank position.
- Return to starting position by lowering your right arm first followed by your left.
- Keeping your spine neutral and your core tight prevents rocking from side to side during the exercise.
- Repeat this movement while alternating which arm starts off from the ground for maximum engagement.
Beginners can make the exercise easier by planking from their knees instead of the toes and switching up as they advance. You can also improvise if you do not have a mat by folding a towel under your elbows.
WHAT MUSCLES DO COMMANDO’S EXERCISE WORK
Just like regular planks, this exercise will work your arms, shoulders, chest, emphasizing on the core and it will also engage the quads, glutes and calves when you plank from the toes.
Commando’s exercise will work your core, to be more precise, your rectus and transverse abdominis, your internal and external obliques multifidus and erector spinae.
This exercise draws strength from your core to keep your body suspended from the floor. This tension will cause muscle activation around your core which triggers fat burning, muscle building and an overall stronger core.
This exercise will also target your shoulder muscles, the anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids. It demands strength from the shoulder and arm muscles to hold up the torso suspended off the ground.
Just like the core it will trigger muscle activation for building of the shoulder muscles for wider and stronger muscles.
THE PECTOTAL MUSCLES
This muscle group is located in the chest area. It includes pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.
Commando’s exercise is also intense on the chest and will improve your endurance for other chest exercises and also build your chest muscles.
THE BICEPS AND TRICEPS
Just like the deltoids, this exercise will also isolate and work your upper arm muscles, the biceps and the triceps for strength and endurance training. This will improve your arm strength and endurance which will become apparent as reps become easier to do.
THE QUADRICEPS, GLUTEUS AND CALF MUSCLES
These muscles are found along the length of your legs, from your bum all the way down to your calves.
Commando’s exercise will work this muscles especially when doing the planks from your toes rather than knees.
This exercise will boost the strength and endurance of these muscles which will make the exercise seemingly easier to do overtime.
BENEFITS OF COMMANDO’S EXERCISE
This exercise will work your torso to give you a stronger core that will improve your balance and also your shoulders and chest to improve your overall body stability.
STRENGTHENING YOUR MUSCLES
Commando’s exercise will boost strength in your arms, chest, shoulders, quads, glutes and especially core muscles and endurance which will make doing this exercise easier.
INCREASING HEART RATE
This is a high intensity compound exercise that will get your heart rate up and increase circulation in your body.
Besides the health benefits, this exercise is advantageous in that it is a high intensity exercise that can be done ideally anywhere.
ALTERNATIVES TO COMMANDO’S EXERCISE
This alternative is a variation of the regular commando’s exercise where instead of planking all the way to your toes you are on your knees.
- Start with your knees on the mat under your hips and your hands below your shoulders. Your spine should be in a neutral position and draw your shoulder blades down and back.
- Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core.
- Release your right hand to place your elbow firmly on the mat directly below your right shoulder.
- Release your left hand to place your elbow firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder.
- Let go of your right forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your right shoulder and push up onto your right hand.
- Place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder and push up onto your left hand to return to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement alternating your arms.
This exercise also requires the balance and control of the commando’s but is easier on your elbows and forearms.
- Start in a kneeling-plank position with your legs hip-width apart, ankles crossed, and body forming one straight line for the floor through the crown of your head.
- Now, with control, while keeping your hips and shoulders level and squared in front of you, lift one palm to the top of your opposite arm and pause for one second before returning to start.
- Repeat while alternating.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING COMMANDO’S EXERCISE
NOT ENGAGING CORE
When the core is not engaged, the lower back is left to carry the load which causes the most common effect of back pain during planks.
To prevent this focus on bracing your core muscles. Breathe into your stomach and at the end of the inhale tense your abs as if preparing yourself to lift something heavy.
You need to keep your glutes squeezed to prevent tell-tale dropping.
ROCKING FROM SIDE TO SIDE
In order to properly engage your core you have to ensure there is no unnecessary side-to-side movement.
Commando’s exercise is a great addition to your workout if you’re looking for a high-intensity compound exercise that will work your core and upper body in general to give you wonderful results.