If you dread doing plank exercises, allow David and Victoria Beckham to offer a bit of inspiration for how to make them more fun (and effective). David posted a video of him and his wife adding a competitive, hand-eye-coordination twist to a high plank exercise, and you’re going to want to try it with your favourite workout buddy.
A “dynamic” exercise
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In the clip, the two are holding a high plank and facing each other. Their trainer, Bobby Rich, watches nearby and says, “Let’s go.” Then, a line of buttons on the floor in between the couple begins to light up. David and Victoria both lift up a hand and start tapping the glowing buttons as fast as they can, Whac-a-Mole-style.
As David and Victoria compete against one another to tap the most lights, you can hear their trainer and one of their kids encouraging them. When the dynamic, roughly 30-second plank exercise is over, the video zooms in on Rich’s phone, which displays a score of 61 to 48 (although it’s unclear who had the higher count).
“Planks are a great core exercise”
It’s no secret that planks are a great core exercise. Of the many plank variations to choose from, David and Victoria opted for a dynamic plank, rather than a static hold, in the clip, explains Danny Saltos, the NASM-certified, Los Angeles-based personal trainer behind Train with Danny.
To get an idea of how this dynamic exercise challenges your muscles more than a standard plank, think of the body in a plank position as a table, suggests Saltos. “If you remove one leg of that table, it becomes much less stable, which forces the entire rest of that table to work more,” he says.
While they’re forced to work a bit harder, the muscles activated in this movement are the same as those used to hold a static plank, including the core, shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads, says Saltos. “You’re basically working everything in the body… but it makes those muscles work a lot more.”
David and Victoria upped the ante even more with a little help from a flash reflex training system called BlazePod, a tool that includes “pods” that you can control with an app on any smart device. The “pods” (aka the light-up buttons seen on the floor between the Beckhams in David’s recent Instagram post) sync up with exercises and challenges created by BlazePod, offering visual cues to pair with workouts, such as the plank competition demonstrated by the couple.
The platform combines “cognitive and physical exercise to more effectively reach your performance goals,” says Simon Jacobs, head of education and professional development at BlazePod. It’s a great way to add excitement and motivation to your training, he adds.
However, you don’t need to invest in new technology to reap the benefits of performing a dynamic plank exercise with a partner. You can use medicine balls or dumbbells labelled with different letters that your workout buddy can tell you to tap, which replicates the movement and mental challenge of the Beckhams’ workout, suggests Saltos.
Either way, including a significant other or friend in your training, can be a fun way to change up your routine. “Exercise can be kind of isolating,” says Saltos. “It’s very therapeutic for a lot of people, but I think when you bring in the element of having someone else there, there’s accountability. It makes it more exciting, and then, obviously, there’s the element of competition,” he adds. “It just kind of spices it up a little bit.”
If you’ve been looking for ways to make plank exercises more exciting, grab a buddy and add a dynamic, cognitive element to your workout. The Beckhams certainly make it look like a good time.
(This story first appeared on www.shape.com)
(Hero and Feature image credit: Getty Images)
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