Plank jacks are a core stabilizing and cardiovascular exercise, in which you try to keep the spine and pelvic aligned. It demands a longtime staple core workout because of the total-body-stability. The jumping component of the exercise gets your heart rate up quickly and also allows you to feel your core engage more than when doing the regular plank and most people seem to enjoy the plank jack more.
What is a Plank Jack?
Plank jacks are a combination of two very common exercises, which are cardio(plank) and core-strengthening(jumping jack) exercises. This form of exercise offers a more advanced alternative to the regular plank and can help strengthen the muscles of both the upper and lower body.
Because plank jack are both an aerobic and a resistance exercise, you can add them to your exercise routine a few times a week, which may also increase core strength and stability, burn calories, and help reduce fat.
Tips: Remember to always check with your doctor before adding new cardio workouts to your routine.
How to do a Plank Jack
Follow this step-to-step guide to perform a plank jack:
- Start on all four in a plank position with your arms extended and hands under your shoulders, feet together. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels and your eyes focused on the ground.
- Engage your lower abs to help protect your back from injury.
- Slightly bend at the knees and jump both feet out wide to each side as if doing a jumping jack.
- Stay in plank position as you quickly jump your feet back together and land on your toes.
- Continue to jump back in and out. Keep your back flat allowing your knees to bend slightly and don’t let your hips drop throughout the entire movement. Your arms should remain steady.
- For a start, perform plank jacks for 10–20 seconds. You can make the move more challenging by working up to 60 seconds or jump at a faster speed.
Plank jack can also be performed on the forearms for an additional challenge.
Another Plank Jack Variation
Like all good exercise, you can perform plank jacks without “jumping” your legs out to the side. This version is for beginners and is called plank side taps with low-impact exercise.
- Start on all four in a plank position with your arms extended and hands under your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels and your feet together.
- Engage your abs by pulling them in.
- Step your right foot out to the side. Bring it back to center.
- Step your left foot out to the side. Bring it back to center.
- Perform 8–10 reps on each leg.
What Muscles do Plank Jacks Work?
Plank jacks are a great upper body and core strength move that works the abdominal muscles, chest, back, shoulders, arms, lower back and stabilizers. Plank jacks are a great cardio exercise too.
Benefits of Plank Jacks
These are the many reasons you should incorporate plank jacks into your daily workouts. It helps;
- Strengthen core muscles
- Improved stability
- Reduced risk of injury
- Maintenance of mobility
- Lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Burn calories and fat
Plank Jack Safety Tips
To perform plank jacks safely, follow these tips:
- Engaging your core throughout the entire move can help to protect the lower back from injury.
- Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe and don’t let your hips dip.
- Stop if you feel dizzy, fatigued, or overheated.
Plank jacks are a muscle-strengthening activity. They are also a moderate- to high-intensity aerobic activity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults should aim to do muscle-strengthening activities two days a week and get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week.
Plank jacks are an effective exercise for working core muscles while also getting the benefits of cardio exercise.
Plank jacks can be combined with other cardio and core exercises for a complete workout. Try adding them to your core routine a few times a week.
If you want another exercise that combines a similar level of stability and motion, you can perform the normal plank exercise.