How To Do Star Plank Properly

Star plank is an isometric hold that is a variation of the standard plank. However, as the name suggests, you will have to get into the star shape.

The exercise strengthens and improves your arms, shoulders, deep abdominals, obliques, and hip. This is in addition to training the strength of your mind and will like plank poses do.

Like other isometrics, the exercise is challenging and enables you to gauge in a concrete way just how strong you are getting. You may be shaking the first time you hold a star plank but over time you will notice that you are able to hold the position for longer.

It is as a variation of the traditional plank, offers increased difficulty. When your abs muscles progressively get stronger, doing the plank becomes less challenging and fails to give you that intense stimulus to foster strength and muscle growth.

When this happens, others have opted to perform weighted planks. However, this increases overload of your back thus, increases your injury risk and you will always need assistance to get into the starting position.

That is where the star plank comes in as a better and safer approach. It creates a new stimulus that the muscles can adapt to while stile maintaining health and longevity.

In a star position, the weight is distributed to the abdominals and other muscles as well. Thus, the increase in level of difficulty.

Therefore, it is not a beginner exercise due to its challenging nature. It is commonly used by those with intermediate or advanced fitness level.

HOW TO DO STAR PLANK

Here is a step-by-step procedure of how to perform the exercise.

  • Start the exercise by lying down on a press-up position, with fully extended arms.
  • Slowly walk your arms and legs out and away from your body until they form a star or an x-shape. Remember the further you go, the more challenging the exercise will be.
  • Ensure that you brace your core to keep a flat line from your head to your toes. Hold this position for the required amount of time.

Now, bring your arms and legs back to a normal press-up position.

STAR PLANK MUSCLES ENGAGED

CORE/ABDOMINAL MUSCLES

The core and abdominals are the primary muscles targeted during the exercise. These muscles stay contracted so as to hold up your body.

CHEST/PECTORALS

The Pecs are assistant muscles to the primary muscles in holding up part of the weight. The development of the pecs will occur although the activation is lesser than that of the primary muscles. For better chest development, try the barbell bench press and dumbbell floor press.

SHOULDERS

The shoulders, just like the pecs, are also assistant muscles in holding up the torso. In most cases, if you don’t have enough shoulder strength you might not be able to hold up your torso long enough to properly train their abs.

For proper shoulder exercises, you can do the underhand front raise, the seated tricep press, and the rear delt fly.

STAR PLANK BENEFITS

INCREASED DIFFICULTY

As discussed, the move increases the difficulty if you become proficient in traditional planks. You can switch to the former if you are no longer benefiting as much from the latter.

You can compensate and even grow more muscles.

SHOULDER AND CHEST INVOLVEMENT

The move requires you to hold an isometric position with not only your core but also your shoulder and chest. This is because of the outstretched arms and can consequently lead to chest and shoulder development.

NO NEED FOR EQUIPMENT

As a calisthenic exercise, the star plank is great for those who work out solo and don’t have anyone to place weights on their backs, or those who don’t go to commercial gyms and have no equipment available.

STAR PLANK ALTERNATIVES

SIDE PLANK

The side plank is a great exercise if you want to focus on deep spinal stabilizing muscle quadratus lumborum. Strengthening this muscle can help reduce back injury risk.

Therefore, you can strengthen your core without stressing your back. Also, the move does not put pressure on your lower back like the crunches and sit-ups.

EXTENDED PLANK

The extended plank is quite similar to the star plank, only slightly easier to perform. You can even use it as a stepping stone towards traditional planks and star planks.

It targets the abs primarily and the lower back and hip flexors secondarily.

STAR PLANK MISTAKES TO AVOID

KEEPING YOUR HIPS TOO HIGH

Do not inadvertently raise your hips past their core as the abdominals will not be activated rendering the move useless. This may happen without you noticing because your body will subconsciously try to get a more “efficient” position of bearing the burden.

You may have someone watching you, or you can record yourself. Ensure that you maintain a straight line from the top of your head to your hips and feet.

Generally, if you don’t actively feel your abs contracting, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

OVEREXTENDING YOUR LIMBS

Do not overextend your limbs, especially if you are a beginner. Most beginners imitate what they see online or from their coaches, not understanding that they are not yet proficient enough to go that far.

First, focus on holding yourself up before going back to the starting position. You can begin with a more conservative position before slowly progressing towards full extension as you continue to master the exercise.

HOLDING THE PLANK FOR TOO LONG

Do not hold the plank for too long because it can lead to minor injuries like busted lips or noses. Holding for too long can make it difficult to return back to the starting position.

So, you may opt to fall flat on the floor which, even though it’s outright harm to abdominal development, if you don’t mind your head, you can hurt yourself.

Moreover, the exercise becomes more effective if you rest for some seconds, reset your position then start over.

CONCLUSION

Adding the star plank with the proper technique to your workout routine can be very beneficial as discussed above. Ensure you maintain a consistency with the exercise for better results.