The good old plank is one of the most effective core exercises. But who does not get bored after 60 seconds of a dull, static plank? Spice up your workouts with these plank variations!
How to Do the Plank
You can practice these plank variations individually as a plus to your regular workout, or put them together for an intense core workout. But first, let’s go over the basic plank:
Basic Plank Variations
- Start in a push up position with your legs hip-width apart.
- Come down to your forearms, tightening your abs and making sure your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your neck.
- You can hold this position for up to a minute.
Plank to Pushup
- Start in a plank position on your forearms.
- One arm at a time, push your upper body up, until your arms are straight.
- One at a time, go back onto your forearms.
Plank Jumping Jacks
- Start in a plank position on your forearms with your feet together.
- Jump and separate your legs until they form a Y with your body.
- Jump your feet together and repeat up to 20 times.
- Make sure to keep your core firm and in a straight line with your neck and hips.
- Start in plank position on your forearms.
- Rotate on to your side into a side plank. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Return to plank position and rotate to the other side and hold.
- Repeat 10 times.
Intermediate Plank Variation
Here you have to practise how to balance yourself standing on one arm.
Side Plank with Arm Twist
- Start in side plank position and keep your feet about hip-distance apart.
- Shift your weight onto one hand and reach through the space between your arm and your body with the free arm.
- Pull your arm out and twist so you are reaching towards the ceiling.
- Repeat and switch sides.
Side Plank Crunches
- Start in a side plank with your arm extended.
- Bend your upper leg with your knee pointing towards the ceiling.
- Bring your elbow to your knee keeping your torso straight and firm.
- Repeat the same side without resting your leg at least 10 times.
- Switch sides.
Advanced Plank Variations
You can use BOSU, TRX or Swiss Ball, benches or walls to challenge yourself even more.
- Place a BOSU ball on the floor in front of you.
- Lower into plank position, with either your arms extended or on your forearms.
- Keep steady with your abs contracted.
- Hold for 20 seconds, and repeat, if you wish.
- Start in a basic plank position, but with arms extended.
- Rock your body forward putting pressure on your toes until your shoulders move past your hands.
- Push back with your hands until your heels go past your toes.
- Make sure to stay balanced and move slowly to maintain balance.
Plank with Shoulder Touches
- Start in a standard plank position.
- Shift your weight to your left arm, making sure to keep your hips steady.
- Touch your left shoulder with your right hand, and slowly return to plank position.
- Touch your right shoulder with your left hand.
- Repeat 15 times.
- Start in plank position
- Extend your arms as far in front of you as you can while still maintaining your form
- Start in standard plank position with arms extended.
- Move your feet out to your sides while still maintaining proper form.
- Hold for 20 seconds.
- This is a step up from Y-Plank, where you move your feet out to your sides until your body forms a Y.
- Walk your arms wider apart then shoulder length, so your body is an X-shape.
- Hold for 20 seconds.
Single Arm Plank
- Start on your forearms with your feet together.
- Keep your head facing down, and extend one arm above your head. Hold for three seconds, without shifting your hips.
- Switch arms.
- Alternate 15 times.
- To make it more challenging, you lift both arm and leg together.
Single Leg Plank
- Start with a forearm plank.
- With your legs hip-width apart, lift your right leg to hip-height and hold for three seconds.
- Switch legs.
- For a more difficult pose, lift your leg higher than your hips and hold for up to 10 seconds on each side.
- Start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and leaning on your hands, arms straight.
- Lift up your buttocks until you from a straight line from your knees to your neck, similar to a table.
- Hold for 15 seconds, rest and repeat.
- You can lift the leg up and hold it for 10 sec to make it even more difficult. Then change to the other leg.
These plank variations will work out your back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quads, upper and lower abs, and obliques.
If you want an intense core workout, try these 15 exercises one after the other, or integrate the different moves into your strength training to mix things up a bit. You’ll see that six-pack develop in no time!
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