What Is a Crossover Running Plank?
In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," the Red Queen admonishes Alice that she must run as fast as possible to remain in the same place. While Carroll's world was fictional, running in place is an excellent exercise in reality. Running in place while in a plank position is a twist to the otherwise stationary exercise, transforming it into a cardio activity that also offers strength-training benefits.
Standard Running Plank
As you'd expect, the running plank begins from a plank position. Place your palms on the floor with your arms extended and your hands below your shoulders, or a bit forward. Straighten your body and balance on your hands and toes. Begin the exercise by tightening your core and moving your right knee forward until it's below the middle of your torso. Reverse your leg positioning, advancing your left knee below your chest while simultaneously thrusting your right foot back as far as you can. Continue to alternate leg positions while keeping your hands fixed in place.
Advance to the Crossover Plank
Begin the crossover version from the plank position, but instead of driving your knees straight forward, cross them over. Drive your right knee forward toward your left arm and then bring it back as your left knee moves toward your right arm. At the peak position, your lead shin should be roughly parallel with the floor and your lead foot should be in the air. Keep your hips as stable as possible throughout the exercise; don't let them bounce too far up or down. To perform the exercise as part of a cardio circuit, do as many repetitions as you can in 30 seconds. Otherwise, perform eight repetitions in each of one to two sets for both legs.
Running Plank Benefits
Running planks in general offer an effective cardio workout and you'll gain greater benefits by moving your legs as quickly as possible. Running planks target your abs but also work your hip and thigh muscles. Crossover planks add some emphasis to the oblique muscles on the sides of your abdomen, thanks to the twisting movements of the exercise.
Balance your weight between your feet with each stride if you do standard running planks. If you can't do standard running planks, elevate your hands by setting them on a raised platform. Place your hands on a stability ball to add a balance challenge, which helps strengthen your core even more. To make the crossover plank more of a strength-training exercise, do "slow motion" running planks. Move your rear leg forward slowly, then pause for about two seconds after your knee advances as far as possible. Repeat with the other leg. Perform six to seven reps with each leg.