Pro Surfer Lakey Peterson Says the 8-Point Plank Is Her Go-to For Core Stability

Lakey Peterson is a pro surfer vying for a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Games — she'll find out at the end of November based on the final rankings of the Women's Championship Tour, she said. Each competitor is awarded points based on their placing in each event, and there are 10 stops total. When the season comes to a close, the surfer with the most points is the highest ranked and wins the world title. So far, Lakey ranked second after the eighth stop, Roxy Pro France. As for the Olympics, this will be the first time surfing is featured.

Lakey, 25, who's been competing as a pro since 2012, told POPSUGAR that her training schedule depends on the competition and how far along the season is. During preseason, for instance, February is her most intense month. She tries to average around four hours of surfing per day: a two-hour session in the morning and a two-hour session in the afternoon broken up by two hours at the gym. During the surf season, she doesn't ever train on competition days, but throughout the contest she'll "just try to keep warm and keep everything firing and functioning well."

Those gym sessions typically have a full-body approach. Lower-body, for Lakey, consists of weighted exercises — though she doesn't load too heavy, she added — like Bulgarian split squats, hamstring curls, and side lunges. For upper-body, she does a lot of push-ups and pull-ups, and she'll generally tack on some cardio at the end via the treadmill, Assault bike, VersaClimber, or SkiErg. She always works core stability, too, because that's key for a surfer.

Lakey normally does Turkish get-ups and bear crawls, and her favorite core stability move is the eight-point plank. "You're on your forearms and your knees are bent, but resting on the ground, and your toes are on the ground," she explained. (Eight points of contact: hands, elbows, knees, and toes.) It's hard, she said, and makes for an excellent core stability exercise. Ahead, check out how it differs from a regular plank and what a trainer has to say about its effectiveness.

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Foundation Training: 8-Point Plank Tabata Explained

Ali Greenman, NASM- and ACE-certified personal trainer and founder of Final Straw Fitness, told POPSUGAR that a "regular" plank on your toes or your knees tends to be very passive. "You aren't intentionally contracting any muscles, and your body is only 'firing up' what it needs to in order to stabilize," she explained. "In an eight-point plank, you are consciously contracting pretty much all of your muscle groups, making it a very active hold versus a passive one."

Ali said that the eight-point plank may look easy because you're not balancing on your toes with your legs straight, but "the key here is trying to pull your knees to your elbows without actually moving." By this, she means, "you will need to squeeze your butt, the front and back of your thighs, all the muscles around your stomach, your chest, your back, shoulder muscles, and arm muscles."

She further explained, "Imagine if you were laying on your back with your knees up, feet on the floor, and trying to crunch your elbows to your knees. You want to use those same mechanics while holding the eight-point plank, meaning you want to engage your abdominal muscles." This is called an isometric contraction of your abs. It will also cause you to shake a lot (trust me, I tried it, and it does big time!).

She said that Chiropractor Eric Goodman, DC, founder and creator of Foundation Training, accurately explains how to do an eight-point plank in the video here. You can follow along yourself for a Tabata sequence where you'll do eight-point planks for eight rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. "Requiring your body to produce enough energy to flow to all of those muscle groups will make it pretty hard, pretty fast!" Ali noted. Your core will be in for a treat.