Exercises You Should Be Doing (Prone Plate Switches)

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When it comes to planks, many trainees (as well as trainers) are under the assumption that the only way to “progress” is to perform them for longer periods of time.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather swallow a live grenade than perform planks for MORE time. Furthermore, if I’m working with a client and only have 45-60 minutes with them, why would I waste 3-5 minutes just performing planks? That’s about as exciting as watching a marathon session of The Hills; only with far less puking and stabbing myself in the eye. Haha, get it? The Hills makes me want to stab myself! I should totally write a children’s book.

Once someone can perform a plank (correctly) for 30 seconds, instead of progressing with more time, I’ll make the movement more challenging. Here is an example of some simple progressions:

Prone Planks (wide stance), prone planks (narrow stance), prone planks with feet elevated, prone planks with weight vest, prone plank on stability ball, side planks (two feet), side planks (one foot), side planks with perturbation, and the list could go on.

Another great way to progress planks is something I came across and “stole” from strength coach Will Heffernan called prone plate switches:

Essentially you’ll take upwards of 8-10 five pound plates (I use four in the video) and stack them to one side. Assume the plank position and switch the plates from one side to the other. Make sure that your body makes a straight line (basically you should assume the same position as if you were standing), and that your hips/pelvis don’t shift back and forth. It’s harder than you think. Again, I like to shoot for 30 seconds maximum. To make this more challenging you could either narrow your stance or use 10 lb plates as well. Have fun!

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