Kill your core and prep your shoulders for action with this unique twist on planking.
Planking is one of the most versatile training tools in the gym, simultaneously challenging core stability and also training your abdominal muscles to pull your ribcage downwards, a position that will allow your body to better engage all the muscle groups you hope to train in the gym.
And that makes the plank position a unique way to warm up your shoulders.
By doing three shoulder warmup exercises from a one-arm extended plank position, you can work on refining your the mechanics of three key shoulder motions.
While doing them, be sure to keep your supporting hand out in front of you as far as possible.
The first exercise, the rear delt raise from plank position, will provide a stiff challenge for your rhomboids, or the upper back muscles between your shoulders.
This exercise will also help you pack meat onto the back of your shoulders; even if you use a light weight, you'll stimulate muscle fibers that are oft-ignored in training programs.
The front delt raise, meanwhile, will hit the front of your shoulders while also training the back muscles that help you reach your arms directly overhead.
The final piece of the warmup, the superman press, will help train those same muscles while also readying your body for any overhead press motions you may have in your workout.
And all the while, you'll be bracing your abs, back extensors, and glutes, training your core to do its job in everyday life.
Bury your pride for these drills, and choose a dumbbell five pounds lighter the weight you think you want to use.
Don't be afraid to start with no weight at all to just learn the motions either. Do each move slowly, really working to feel your muscles engage, all while keeping your core tight.
You can alternate arms for each exercise to start, although eventually you'll want to be able to complete an entire warmup set with one arm before switching to the other arm.
Directions: Using either your bodyweight or light weights, perform each of the exercises listed from an extended plank position.
1. Extended Plank Rear Delt Raise: 8 reps per arm
2. Extended Plank Front Raise: 8 reps per arm
3. Extended Plank Superman Press: 8 reps per arm.
That's 1 round. Rest for 1 minute, then do the set 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds.