While there are hundreds of different exercises you can do in the gym, some of the best stem from just a few basic starting positions.
One of these is the plank, which can be used as the base for a wide range of superhero sculpting moves.
Once you add implements like dumbbells to the mix, the possibilities for your plank expand even wider. Today, we’re going to focus on bringing the back muscles into the equation with the plank row.
The plank row is one of superhero trainer Don Saladino’s favorite moves. The fitness expert helped actors like Ryan Reynolds and Sebastian Stan mold their action star bodies for blockbuster movies like Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, so if he’s recommending an exercise, you should probably take notes.
“I love plank rows because they give out a great bang for your buck,” he told MensHealth.com. “[The move] teaches tightening of your core as you strengthen your pulling, and it offers asymmetrical ab work.”
You’ll get the core attention you’d expect from a plank-based move, and the row will give your lats and shoulders some work, too.
To perform the plank row, grab a pair of light dumbbells and some space to stretch out on the ground. Assume a plank position with your feet spread wide, gripping the dumbbells with your palms facing parallel to each other. Squeeze your glutes and core to maintain a strong spinal alignment, with your gaze focused on the floor in front of you.
Use your lats to raise and pull one of the dumbbells to chest height, then return the weight to the ground, keeping the rest of your body balanced in its position. Control the load up and down the movement – if you have to contort your body and shift your back to lift the dumbbells, drop down to a lower weight.
“Maintain your shoulder position over your support hand,” Saladino advised. “You can also narrow your stance for a harder rep.”
Mix plank rows into your next back workout by performing 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps. Remember, half the challenge is with your form and balance, so don’t be discouraged if you have to start with a light weight. For more superhero-body building moves, you can check out Saladino’s full program.