The 321 Abdominal Plank (and other cool stuff)

Today’s post is a mix of things from how to do a new abdominal plank variation, to a recent interview and articles I’ve done, to a great new free research journal,  to recognizing some recent professional achievements of a few fitness friends.

321 Abdominal Plank

If you can do a basic abdominal plank for 30 seconds, I’d say it’s time you stop boring yourself with them any longer and progress to more advanced abdominal plank versions like the 321 Plank. Not just for that reason, but because you’re already doing basic planks every time you do push-ups. In that, from a body position and core muscle activation perspective, the push up is an abdominal plank because your torso is in the exact same position in both instances. The only difference is in the push up you’re also involving your chest, shoulders and triceps (in additional to the core muscle activation), therefore giving you more muscle activation, which makes your time more beneficial and productive. Not to mention, if you’re already doing push ups in your workout, I feel it is unnecessary to perform basic planks in your workouts because you’ve already done them (whether you’re aware of it or not) when you were doing the push-ups.

In short, instead of doing basic abdominal basic planks – if you can already do a basic abdominal plank for 30 seconds – I say just do push-ups instead of boring yourself with redundant exercises, and spend that valuable (and limited) training time doing more advanced plank variations like the 321 abdominal plank:

Yes! In the video my hips were a bit high during the long-lever plank than I’d coach them to be. I was simply more focused on talking and keeping the above video concise that I didn’t give myself to focus on feeling where I was at.

This picture displays the hip position I’m looking for when performing the long-lever plank:


 If you’d like to learn more about this exercise, check out this 2013 paper by Dr. Brad Schoenfeld and Bret Contreras (aka. the Rear Admiral) published ahead-of-print in the NSCA Strength & Conditioning Journal titled Exercise Technique: The Long-Lever Posterior-Tilt Plank.

Also, in regards to the one-arm abdominal planks: this advanced plank variation adds an element of rotation because gravity is pulling on your unsupported side – the opposite side of your hand that is one the floor supporting you –toward the ground. This creates a unique loading stimulus from the any two-arm plank variations where both arms are always in contact with the ground.

Additionally, if you want to make the one-arm plank a bit easier (from the version demonstrated in the video); instead of reaching your arm out to the side, which creates a longer rotary lever arm to resist, simply touch your opposite shoulder as shown here in the picture below.


Lastly, you can also choose to perform this exercise from the elbows, and, if you do so, it’s more comfortable to place a pad, pillow, or folded towel under your arms. Although performing the 321 abdominal plank from your elbows is easier on your wrists, it’s a bit tougher on your core muscle since it brings you more parallel with the ground, therefore increasing the lever-arm length.

My Interview with “The Pack”

Game changers Luka HocevarSteve Krebs and Travis Jones (aka. The Pack) are doing just that with their Changing the Game summit that has one of the most impressive speaker line-ups I’ve ever had the honor of being a part of!



 As part of their Changing the Game Summit, the Pack is doing Google Hangout videos with their presenters. Here’s the interview I just did with them:

The Journal of Fitness Research

My good friend Dr. Mark McKean has started a new, free journal: Journal of Fitness Research.

The Journal of Fitness Research is currently Open Access and Author submission fee free, making it quite unique. It is only through the support of the Australian Institute of Fitness and Australian Fitness Network, who absorb these costs, that the journal can maintain this free access and submission structure which will continue into 2014.

In addition to using the Journal of Fitness Research, please consider publishing your work and your students work with the Journal, and pass this information onto your colleagues to assist in growing this journal as an international source of quality fitness training research.

BIG Congrats to Bret Contreras and Dr. Brad Schoenfeld!!!

These last few weeks have been monster for two of my great friends in the fitness training field.

1. Bret (the Rear Admiral) Contreras recently become the editor in chief a new journal for personal trainers by The National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) called Personal Trainer Quarterly (PTQ).

2. Not only has Dr. Brad Schoenfeld (aka. Broenfeld) assumed the role of co-editor for the ACSM Certified News Journal, which is an internally peer-reviewed journal focusing on the practical application of exercise research, he also was awarded his PhD.

Brad shared his journey to achieving his doctoral degree here.


Both of these guys are the “Real Deal,” and deserve all the credit that comes their way! And, I’m privileged to call them close friends!

My Recent Training Articles:

The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

7 Ways to Dominate the Pull-Up

Smart Dumbbell Lifting: Iso-Dynamic Training

The Reebok One Network


Put simply, Reebok has become “The Home of Fitness.” If you’re not currently a ReebokONE Member – you get 25% off all Reebok products for life and exclusive content from trainers like myself, Brad Schoenfeld and Mike Robertson –  Go here to sign up for FREE today.

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