Plank 2.0 - The Best Drills for Building Serious Core Strength - The Barbell Physio


Plank 2

Plank 2.0 – The Best Drills for Building Serious Core Strength

Front and side planks are great for teaching core positioning and beginning to develop strength. But quickly they become more of an endurance exercise than a trunk & core strengthener. If you want to build serious strength, then you are going to need to up your game!


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RKC Planks

Without a doubt, my favorite variation is the RKC. The standard front plank quickly becomes too easy and (in my opinion) doesn’t translate to athletes learning how to create serious trunk stiffness that is necessary for maximal effort lifting. The RKC version is my go-to for developing max trunk stiffness.


Renegade Row

A challenging variation that incorporates upper body rowing and anti-rotational strength. Being more dynamic means athletes must learn to have better control.


Front Plank Hip Extension

While this one looks easy, if the athlete does a great job of maintaining a neutral spine, the small repeated hip extensions are a great glute activation exercise (Boren et al.).


Side Plank Hip Abduction

Another variation that is seriously good for glute activation simultaneously (Boren et al.), the side plank hip abduction combines lateral trunk with lateral hip strength, a VERY important combination for athletics.


Long Lever Plank Flutters

Similar to the RKC variation, this twist on the standard front plank just makes for a better drill to teach athletes to create max stiffness.


Stir The Pot

A favorite of world-renown back specialist Dr. Stu McGill, stir the pots add a dynamic component while working high-end core strength. Another great one for training the spinal stabilizers to be better prepared for max effort lifting.


Plank With Arm Reach

Lifting and holding one arm for a duration forces more lateral stability, so you don’t topple over. This is a tough one, so the goal is to increase the amount of time you extend each arm as you progress.

The goal is to maintain stiffness and alignment and to avoiding shift to either side as you raise the arm. Easier said than done!


Adductor Plank

Another side variation, this one was focusing on increasing demands on the adductors, one of the most overlooked muscle groups in sports performance training.

Captain Morgan Side Plank

A side variation is much more difficult than it looks! Try this to strengthen the lateral core, hip abductors, and hip adductors.


Runner’s Side Plank

One of my favorite variations to use with runners. Even with the knee bent, the dynamic movement of the top leg makes this variation great for strengthening the hips and core. This drill is also one that I use for hip mobility!