The Real Benefits Of Adding Plank Jacks To Your Workout

Ever wondered how you could possibly make a plank harder than it already is? Consider a plank jack. This move forces your plank form to remain stable while adding elements of cardio and balance to the equation, so if you've already perfected your plank and you're confident in your ability to maintain good form even when you're less stable, add a series of plank jacks to your routine.

At first, you might confuse the idea of a plank jack with a burpee, which involves going into a plank position on the ground, then hopping to your feet and jumping up in the air, then heading back down to do it all over again (via Shape). But in a plank jack, you stay in high plank position, and only your feet are moving — which can be incredibly challenging.

To do a plank jack, start in a high plank position and make sure that your core is stable and your arms are strong, with hands firmly planted on the ground. Your body should be a straight line from your head to your heels. Then, without moving your upper body, you're going to jump both feet out to the sides, widening your foot stance. After widening your stance, jump your feet back in, then out again — like a jumping jack motion, but using only your lower body (via Healthline).

Why do a plank jack?

The plank jack is a great addition to a body weight strength routine because it boosts your cardio, while forcing your body to fight to keep your core stable. It can turn a series of planks into a high intensity interval training session, and even helps target your biceps and triceps. That's right: while your legs are working by jumping back and forth, your upper body is getting an equally extreme workout as it fights against the forces happening in your lower body. Staying upright means your arm muscles are working harder, which adds an extra element of challenge to the exercise (via GetHealthyU). Combine them with regular planks, side planks, and plank pushups, and you'll be getting a full body workout in just a few minutes.

Because the major benefit of the plank jack is that it improves strength and stability in addition to adding a cardio component to your workout, it's critical that you make sure your upper body and core are staying stabilized during the jumps. Like mountain climbers, the exercise can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be, if you let your core relax — but if your hips are dropping and your core isn't engaged, you aren't getting the benefits of the exercise, you're just going through the motions (via