Must-do move: Rope smash plank

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The humble plank is a fine exercise, but easy to outgrow: once you can hold it for a couple of minutes, anything further is a waste of time. According to a study from the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research, battle ropes could be the solution. 

During one ten-minute session, volunteers saw their heart rates hit almost 180bpm, while their blood lactate reached almost 12mmol per litre – a similar effect to that of high-intensity sprinting and cycling. Combine that with holding a plank, and it’s like unleashing an earthquake on your abs.

How to do it

Sets 5 Time 15sec each side Rest 30sec

Start in a plank position with the rope in front of you. Once you’re settled in the position, grab the rope with one arm and commence thrashing. For extra points and a further test of your core, keep your torso as parallel to the ground as possible.

Battle hardened

Need a further challenge? Trainer Jeremy Scott has the battle rope workout that’ll carve you a core of iron

1. Easy side plank

Simple: rest on one elbow and make waves with the rope. It’s slightly easier than the rope smash plank because your centre of gravity is more forgivingly placed.

2.  Moderate grappler throw

The next best thing to being in a wrestling match. Thrash the ropes from side to side while standing and let your obliques take the strain. 

3. Advanced one-arm, one-leg plank

Like the rope smash plank – only worse. Get into a plank position with one hand and the opposite foot on the floor and begin waving. Try not to collapse, as much as it might amuse other gym-goers.