Known to be one of the best exercises for your abs, back and core the knee to elbow planks exercise proves to be both effective at building the core muscles and losing belly fat.
It is more complex than just regular planks, thus it helps you get stronger over time.
Also known as the knee to side planks they are a great exercise that works on building strength, power and explosiveness your core generates.
How to do a knee to elbow plank:
Required equipment: none (a mat is optional)
- Get down on the floor on all fours, placing your hands at the sides of your chest imitating a push-up.
- Extend your legs backwards until they are in a straight line with your upper body. Plant your feet on the floor and activate your glutes to keep your body in place. This is your starting position.
- Make sure to not lock up or hyperextend your legs, and have your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your right leg extended and move your left knee to your left elbow as close as you can bending it at forty-five degrees, holding it for a second then taking it back to the starting position.
- Repeat the same for your right knee and elbow keeping your left leg extended, remember to keep your core engaged throughout the workout.
- Do this for about ten reps, five on each side for three complete sets.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
The key is to keep your abs and obliques engaged while doing knee to elbow planks and making sure the movement is controlled. This is to avoid lousy forms and techniques to make the exercise easier and avoid injuries.
WHAT MUSCLES DO ELBOW TO KNEE PLANKS WORK?
Knee to elbow planks targets your abs and obliques mainly as they constitute the main muscles flexed and worked through the range of motion.
It also works your glutes, arms and shoulders as secondary muscles.
BENEFITS OF DOING KNEE TO ELBOW PLANKS
HELPS REDUCE BACK PAIN
Core strengthening together with medium back strengthening exercises are a great way of preventing and reducing back pain. Knee bends, twists and spinal stretches also help in enabling you to stay more active during the day without having to worry about back discomfort.
STRENGTHENS YOUR MUSCLES
Your muscles are put to work in an attempt to resist gravity as you do the movement. The exercise is a type of bodyweight resistance training that will help strengthen your core, abdominals and your back muscles.
This will not only help tone your body and give you a lighter and healthier feel but for athletes will make you more explosive with your jumping and acceleration.
IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY
Knee to elbow planks put your body and muscles through strain and tear, leading to fatigue. This causes you to go into a much deeper sleep when you finally take a rest.
Which in itself promotes weight loss that occurs during the night and calories burned from increased energy levels throughout the day.
SLOWS DOWN AGING
Generally, exercise is a great way to slow down ageing, and planks are no exception. Studies have shown that planks are an effective way for you to get quick results without having long workout hours.
With you spending less time in the gym there is less strain on your muscles and joint which with continued prolonged strain will lead to constant slow damage.
ALTERNATIVES TO DOING KNEE TO ELBOW PLANKS
The exercise primarily works your core and back muscles. It also works your hamstrings, deltoids, glutes and Rhomboids as secondary muscles.
How to do a superman exercise:
Required equipment: none (a mat is optional)
- Lie on the floor chest facing down with your arms outstretched in front of you as if you are trying to reach for something with your palms on the floor.
- Push your hips down to the floor, and lift your arms and legs away from the floor. (Imagine as if you were flying like a superhero)
- To do this contract your muscles down the back of your body, simultaneously flex your shoulders, upper back and lower back, glutes, to raise your upper body and lift your legs by flexing your calves and hamstrings.
- Hold that position for about three seconds.
- Try to lift your feet and hands to the same height off the floor to create a nice and even curve through the back of your body.
- Avoid over lifting the legs as this can put pressure on your lower back.
To avoid injury, lift your legs and upper body slowly with no jerking or fast movements.
A lunge is a versatile strength training move for your lower body that can be done moving across a surface or stationery.
Required equipment: none
- Stand upright with your hands on the base of your hips and your feet about shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
- Rise onto your toes and balance yourself, then take a long step forward with your left foot.
- When your front foot begins to touch the floor, simultaneously bend both knees lowering yourself down into a lunge.
- At the bottom, ensure that both your knees are bent at about ninety degrees.
- From the bottom position, push up and backwards using your front foot with enough force to step back so that both your feet are side to side.
- As you return to your starting position, Repeat the whole motion now with your right foot.
- Repeat the motion from your starting position for fifteen reps in two sets.
KNEE TO ELBOW PLANK MISTAKES TO AVOID
HOLDING YOUR BREATH
Holding your breath at a point in the workout will force your body to recruit other muscles during the workout, such as the back hindering you from getting the most out of the workout.
SAGGING YOUR LOWER BACK
It is a common mistake to lower your back and arch your body instead of having it straight. This may cause your back to tighten up, and continued practice of this will lead to a back injury.
SINKING YOUR SHOULDERS
It is commonly referred to as winging your shoulder blades. This creates a lot of stress on your shoulders and it destabilizes the trunk leading to minor injuries if continue over time.
This variation of a plank is a great workout to include in your routine, it requires very little space and no equipment. It is a great exercise to use to tone your core muscles and would easily fit into your workout regime.