Academy: Isometric Planks

Part of our "Toes to Knows" Climbing Academy series--covering climbing from footwork to mental preparation.

Tags: Coaching, Hangboarding, Advanced, Intermediate, Training

Antagonistic pushing exercises are critical to keeping your shoulders balanced and healthy. Pushups are a go-to exercise for working the pushing muscles. In Lyti’s case, we need to make the pushup easier so she can get a better workout. For other folks, the pushup can be too easy as it doesn’t apply a max load that you might be looking for. Isometric planks are a great alternative that can be easier or harder than a regular pushup.  

Isometric planks are a simple variation to a standard pushup. To perform, come down into plank position with your arms locked off at 90° and hold that position for 10 seconds. Do several reps, depending on what your goals are.

To make the exercise harder and workout more muscles, try a “hard” plank. A hard plank is when you contract every muscle in your body—your hands, arms, chest, core, glutes, hamstrings, calves, feet, etc. Hard planks are a great, integrated exercise that workout all the muscles in your body.

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If you want to progress the exercise and work more pushing muscles, do the hard plank, but then start to lift one hand off the ground. This makes the exercise quite challenging and is a great way to progress toward a one-hand pushup.

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