The plank

bascially you get into a pushup position, and rest on your elows.

I just a 100 count (held the position while counting to a hindred). Works good for lower abs and obliqutes. What do you guys think of it?

Its pretty killer. I do at least 2 minutes but sometimes up to 3 minutes.

Try doing it on your hands, like in a pushup position.

Here's a link for anyone who needs it.

This position works abs, obliques and deltoids along with the many stabilizing muscles in your back and spanning across your spine. It's good to build lower back strength to prevent future injury or chronic pains as you age. Forearms are nice, pushups are cool to, but if you're up for a challenge, extend your hands out and hold yourself up using your palms. That'll work most every posterior muscle group you'll have. If you can hold it for 2-3 minutes straight with no resting at all, consider yourself well off with a strong base to work from.

I love em. Especially when someone is there to stack plates on my back.

It is certainly a challenging exercise, and it involves many muscles. However, it's just an isometric contraction and that is a less than optimal way to train.

ElGabe states, "This position works abs, obliques and deltoids along with the many stabilizing muscles in your back and spanning across your spine." There are no muscles that span across the spine. By this I mean that there are not any muscles that start on one side of the spine and cross over the spine and then attach on the other side. There are several that run along large portions of the spine from top to bottom, but they do not actually cross over the vertebrae from side to side.

Best in Health and Training, J. R.

JRS, what would you recommend as an alternative for the lower back? Seems you'd need to round it in order to work the erectors through a full range of motion, but that comes with some risk of injury, no?

True, in order to work the spinal erectors optimally you do need to have some amount of spinal flexion. There are certain circumstances that can make this ccarry a certain risk. However, there are many ways to also minimize the risk.

A thourough warm-up prior to weighted exercises is always good. No bouncing motions. Don't go to extreme end ranges of motion. Start and build up slowly the amount of weight you use. Never ever choose an exercise where you are both bent forward and also twisting.

The absolute best spinal exercise is a MedX lumbar extension machine. However, since these cost about $40,000 dollars they can be hard to find and pricey to use. As an alternative I'm also a big fan of just curving yourself around an exercise ball face down and doing extension movements from there.

Best in Health and Training, J. R.

I tried them on my palms.. worked good for my chest.

Good answer JRSFitness, thanks.

In order to atone for my thread-derailing here's another plank variation that I like. From a pushup position with feet about shoulder width apart lift each limb in turn, working in a circle around your body. Three points on the ground at any time.

I'll hold each position for 30 sec or so, and see how long I can keep going. I think the torso's ability to resist twisting forces like that is important for transfering leg power into your punches. Thinking about that helps me push a little harder on this. I hate working abs.

The routine we use for the plank is this:
-Pushup position, hold for time. Keep your back flat. THe longest I have gone for is 1 minute.
Transition directly into:
-Side plank, feet and one elbow on ground, body straight. Elbow should be directly under your shoulder, keep your body straight. Hold for time(same as first), then roll over to do other side. Then transition into:
-The plank, hold for time. Again, back flat, core tight. Same amount of time.
I usually use this 1-2 times per week after my ab routine, followed by side deadlifts(deadlift performed with one heavy dumbbell held on either side, alternate sides).