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Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Featured Content, Training Articles, Muscle Mechanics
By Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT | Jun 1, 2012

SUCCEEDING VIA image A quick tip to maximize the benefits of this isometric abdominal exercise

If you've been training for any length of time, you have probably experimented with various ways to take your muscles past failure. From forced reps to supersets to giant sets, there is no type of advanced technique that has gone untested in your routines. One of the most commonly used training techniques for serious trainers is the drop set, which involves reducing the resistance at the point of initial failure and continuing the set. This method of extending the set helps you to break down more muscle fiber, which provides the opportunity for those fibers to come back stronger the next time.

No muscle group is out of bounds for drop setting -- not even your abs. And while weighted crunches or weighted hanging leg raises may seem like an easy way to use this method on abs day, you may not have considered how this can be implemented on planks.

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If you're reading this here at ProSource, chances are you'd never be caught dead doing a push-up on your knees. (And we don't blame you.) But doing a plank on your knees could be the coolest thing you could do for your midsection.

The plank is a challenging, isometric exercise that targets your deep transverse abdominis muscles -- the postural muscles responsible for keeping your abdominal wall taut and strong -- as well as your rectus abdominis. To do it, you simply prop yourself up on your elbows and toes and keep your spine flat as, well, a plank. Usually the approach is to hold this position to failure, rest and repeat. But if you are truly interested in extending the burn and setting up some serious abdominal soreness, try going to your knees once you hit initial failure. This "drop" in resistance (or difficulty) allows you to continue frying muscle fibers well into your "red" zone.

>> Try this. On your next abs routine, try performing 3-4 sets of the plank to failure, dropping to your knees and continuing on in the last 1-2 sets.

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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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