Plank ski jumps, or plank skiers, are not for the faint of heart. I’m a plank variation like no other, and do a great job when it comes to targeting the majority of major muscle groups in the midsection.
But how do you do ski jumps, what are the benefits and what happens to your abs if you do them every day for a week? Read More
Let’s start by taking a look at plank ski jumping. The good news is, you don’t have to hit the slopes to practice this—instead it gets its name from the lateral ski jumping exercise, which targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. However, this time you’re jumping your legs while in the plank position, forcing your core to work hard to stabilize your body as you move your legs from side to side.
As with all abs exercises, if you’re completely new to or returning to workouts after an injury or pregnancy, it’s a good idea to consult a personal trainer before diving right in. This is a more advanced variation of the plank, and if you’re a beginner, you may want to start with bodyweight planks to build your core strength.
How to make a ski jump on the bridge
Let’s start by taking a look at how to do a plank ski jump or plank ski jump.
- Start in a high plank position, with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your core engaged. Think about sucking your belly button in towards your spine.
- With legs together, jump feet up and to the left of your body, use your abs to lift your legs up and kick them out to the side.
- From here, jump your legs back to center so you’re back in your high plank position, then jump them to the right side of your body.
- If you want to up the ante, jump from left to right, without returning your legs to the center.
I ski jumped every day for a week – here’s what happened
Ready to find out what happened when I added this brutal abs movement to my workouts for a week?
This worked to my core, hard
On the first day of this challenge, I started with all the enthusiasm I usually bring to these week-long challenges. Here at Tom’s Guide Fitness Bench, we love nothing but a weird and wonderful work challenge, and I’ve tried them all, from 100 dead insects a dayTO bridge sockets.
For the first two days, I opted for 20 reps on each side, hopping back to a high plank between each change of direction. I found that my core had to work extra hard to keep my body stable, and I chose to do 10 reps on each side, then pause to make sure I was moving with proper form and not letting my back arch. As with all variations of the plank, it’s important to keep compressing your core to avoid any arching in your lower back.
Planks and variations of the plank, including the plank jack, activate all of your core muscles. Including the rectus abdominis (the outer “six-pack” muscles), transverse abdominis (the deepest core muscles), and obliques. They also work on the hips and back.
It made my heart rate go up
Unlike the traditional plank, which had my abs shaking but my heart rate relatively stable, this one got my heart rate up thanks to the jumping element of the movement. On the days when I was heading out the door for a run, I used it as a warm-up to get my abs working early, helping me think about running with better posture.
As part of the one-week challenge, I tried adding a couple extra reps each day to keep making things a little harder. On day four, I switched things up and removed the skier’s midsection, jumping legs from the left elbow, to my right. This one was definitely more difficult, and I had to think about kicking my legs up and back towards my glutes to get them high enough to switch sides.
My shoulders worked almost as hard as my abs
I didn’t expect to feel this exercise in my shoulders as much as I did, but this was a real reminder that I need to work on my shoulder strength, especially after a hunched day on my laptop (I’m sure you can understand). Part of the challenge of this move is not letting your body rock back and forth as you hop your legs side to side—your torso and arms should be still the entire time.
Of course, a week of plank ski jumping hasn’t visibly changed my core: Visible abs are the result of a low body fat percentage, not endless plank jacks or sit-ups (that’s it). how to calculate body fat percentage and why it matters). That said, I really enjoyed this challenge and will definitely be adding plank jacks to my warmups in the future, but not that many!
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