There are many plank variation exercises to try, but a favorite for boxing training is the plank jack. The plank jack pairs the classic high plank with the jumping jack to become a challenging full-body exercise that works your core, arms, and legs.
This is a great exercise for strength and conditioning, and boxers like to throw it in between rounds on the bag for an added challenge. Plank jacks also improve stability and balance while strengthening your entire body.
Here’s how to properly do plank jacks, what muscles you are targeting, and how many reps and sets are recommended for beginners.
The Plank Jack
Start in a high plank (push-up) position with your hands directly below your shoulders
Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
Jump your feet in together
Jump your feet back out to the starting position, slightly wider than your shoulders
Continue jumping in and out
Movement Key Points
Remember, efficient workouts mean quality over quantity. It is more important to execute any exercise with proper form and technique than to do a higher number of reps with sloppy form. Here are some key things to focus on while performing plank jacks:
Start in a high plank, push-up position
Tuck your belly towards your spine to keep your core muscles tight and engaged
Jump your feet out shoulder-width apart each time
Keep your upper body steady
Don’t let your back arch upwards or downwards
Plank jacks will definitely get your heart rate up, but you have to remember to breathe! Deep, slow breaths are recommended as you perform each set of plank jacks, just as you would when holding a high plank. This should be a very controlled movement, so be sure to control your breath at the same time.
Plank jacks are an excellent full-body exercise. They work your upper and lower body, challenging the core, arms, and legs.
Core: abdominals and obliques
Plank jacks can be hard at first, but they get easier with practice. Here’s what we recommend for beginners:
Rest for 10 - 15 seconds in between sets
For an added challenge, increase to 30 second sets of however many plank jacks you can do, with around 15 seconds of rest in between sets. You can either maintain the high plank for this rest period or drop to your knees or child’s pose for a quick stretch if you need it.
If you find that a plank jack is too challenging, practice holding the plank and just move one foot out to the side at a time, without swaying your hips. If that is too much, drop to your knees and hold the plank while keeping your back straight as a board.
Work That Body
Plank jacks are a challenging and very effective plank variation that works your whole body. They are an excellent addition to your boxing training to improve balance, stability, and strength.
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