Exercise number 3: Single leg plank to push up


Today, I am going to present you the whole-body exercise, even if it doesn’t look so at first glance. First, take a look this awesome exercise below and let’s discuss why I think this one is a must-do.


This exercise could be the next progression after mastering “Plank to push up” because it requires stronger core activation as well as stronger butt activation. Can you imagine abducting free leg, and rotating toes up (leg ext. rotation)? Butt activation would be even better (already feel that burning 🙂 ?) When you lift 1 leg off the ground, not supported side strive to fall down by twisting. Core muscles must be more engaged to prevent it, and maintain “neutral” position from the butt to the shoulder (in other words, core is engaged way more comparing to classic “plank to push up”). Furthermore, you need to maintain that position while pushing your body up by using arms (it can be pretty challengeable because inertia could be pretty tough if you are pushing up really fast). You are taking all the benefits out of plank and some rotational core exercise as well (or almost all).

This exercise is good not only for core but for arms, chest, shoulders, butt, legs. Just upper back muscles don’t work here. You may ask why for shoulders, butt and legs? You notice that everything is connected. Not only front shoulders are engaged but rotator cuffs as well (strong contact with floor and pushing move trigger cuffs recruitment because they need to protect shoulders/glenohumeral joint by stabilizing it. Butt muscles need to be active because they need to be squeezed along with braced abs – with the aim of making a posterior pelvic tilt, safer spine and properly engaged core (plus 1 leg is off the ground so…). Knees need to be extended so quads need to be squeezed non-stop.

When it comes to form/technique, be sure that the whole body is a “straight line” from ankles to the head (ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, neck, and head). Fully extend knees, make posterior pelvic tilt, elbows approx. 45 degrees away of torso and must be in-line with shoulders, hands – chest level when push up, tuck your chin in… If you want to make this exercise easier for arms but more challenging for core, just push the ground with hand placing further up – above the head level (elbows can be in front of shoulders level as well). But this can be shoulder unfriendly for some people.

When it comes to programming, this one needs to be among first 3 exercises because it requires rested body, concentration, and the real effort in many cases because you need to squeeze/stabilize literally the whole body. In the beginning, 2 sets of 5+5 reps would be enough (1st set: 1 leg off, 2nd set: another leg off; 5 times 1 arm + 5 another one per same set, or you can do more reps of just 1 arm per set – the best would be if it’s the opposite one / if right leg is on the ground do pushes with left arm).

Last but not least, in other words – this exercise is good for whole body “stiffness”. You may notice my rounded spine a little bit while doing this one. In this case, it’s not dangerous because there is no much load on spine. Plus, let me say that this is even desirable because of better core/ABS recruitment as well as m. serratus ant. (“reaching” with hands).

For the love of movement,


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