Planks are a staple in any ab workout. And for good reason! Not only does it completely kill your core, but it also trains your hamstrings and booty, works your lower back, and emphasizes great posture. It’s really a full body exercise… but most people do them on ab days.
Before going into the different ways to do a plank, let’s go over the basics of the plank.
- Keep your back straight. Imagine there is a plank (like an actual piece of wood) strapped to your back!
- Your neck should be in line with your spine.
- Tighten your abs. Bring your belly button towards your spine.
- Also, tighten your glute muscles to help make sure that your lower back is supported.
- Your elbows and/or hands should be directly under your shoulders, unless it states otherwise.
35 Different Ways to Plank
1. Full Plank:
The full plank looks like the start of a pushup. Keep your back as flat as a board and keep your abs tight and engaged!
2. Elbow Plank:
This plank variation is really similar to the full plank; but, instead of being on your hands, you will be on your elbows and forearms.
Push ups are done in the plank position – so of course they are one of the best plank variations that you can do! Make sure you keep your back flat and hips in line with your back. Don’t let those hips start dipping towards the floor.
4. Mountain Climbers:
Get your heart pumping with these! Mountain climbers are one of the BEST ab exercises you can do if you want a flat stomach. From the plank position, bring one knee to the elbow on the same side of your body. Then return that leg to the start, and do the same with the other side. Do this as fast as you can!
5. Criss Cross Mountain Climbers:
These are very similar to the regular mountain climbers that were explained above. However, instead of bringing your knee to the elbow on the same side of your body, you will be bringing your knee to the opposite elbow. While doing this ab workout move, make sure to squeeze those obliques to really get them engaged.
6. Toe Tap Plank:
In this plank variation, you will be in the full plank position on your hands. Your feet should be spread apart. One hand at a time, reach back and touch the opposite side’s foot. You’ll repeat this for both sides.
7. Shoulder Tap Plank:
This plank variation is a great way to learn some of the variations and how to plank for beginners! One arm at a time, take your hand and tap the opposite shoulder. This plank will require you to balance!
Start in the plank position on your hands. Slowly walk your hands towards your feet. Once you’ve made it up to your feet, start walking your hands back out to the standard plank where you started. You can bend your knees slightly if you are not very flexible like I am!
9. Rocking Plank:
Rock hard abs, here you come! This plank variation will rock your world. You’ll be shifting your weight backwards and forwards. Drive your head and shoulders forward, which will consequently cause you to be higher on your toes. Then slowly shift your weight backward and drive back into your heels.
10. Plank Jacks:
The plank jacks are definitely a cardio ab workout. Think of doing jumping jacks while doing a plank. When you are in the plank position, you will be jumping your feet outward, then back together.
11. Bird Dog Plank:
Bird Dog Planks can be done from the full plank or the elbow plank, depending on your level of comfort. While you are holding the plank, lift your right arm so that it is in line with the rest of your body and lift your left leg simultaneously. Hold for at least 3 seconds, then return to the starting plank position. Then alternate to your left arm and right leg!
12. One Leg Plank:
Lift one of your legs while you are holding the plank position. Alternate lifting each leg; or you can hold the leg in the air and then switch during the next plank
13. One Leg Pulsing Plank:
Lift your leg and pulse it in the air for the duration that you’re holding your plank. You can also do this with your leg in a donkey kick position.
14. Extended Plank:
Normally, your hands or elbows will be directly under your shoulders. In the extended plank, your hands or elbows will be forward.
15. Hip Dip Twister Plank:
Start in your basic plank position. Rotate your hips to the ground in a semi-circle fashion. Once you have grazed the ground with your hip, rotate back towards the center, and then to the other side.
16. Exercise Ball Plank:
Your feet will be on the exercise ball while your hands are on the ground. Balancing your feet on the exercise ball makes this abdominal exercise so much more difficult! To make this exercise even more difficult, try the next challenging plank exercise!
17. Exercise Ball Roll In Plank:
Same position as the exercise above; however, you will be bringing your knees to your chest, bringing the ball with you. Then roll the ball back out. Make sure you keep your back straight!
18. Stir The Pot Plank:
You will need an exercise ball for this killer plank. Place your elbows on the yoga mall (like you are doing a standard forearm plank). Roll the ball with your forearms in a circle while keeping your core steady and still in the same spot. Your forearms will be moving past your shoulders in each direction.
19. Single Arm Lift Plank:
In the push up or forearm plank, lift one arm so that you are just doing a plank on one arm or forearm. You can either lift the same arm multiple times, or hold it up. Your choice!
20. Knee to Elbow (Spiderman) Plank:
Want to know how to get a slimmer waist? Try this killed ab exercise then. Bring your knee to your outside of your elbow. It doesn’t matter if you are on your hands or your forearms.
21. Pike Plank:
These planks will be a very challenging core workout as well as a killer upper body exercise. You can do these on the ground or with an exercise ball. You will start in the full plank position and keep your legs as straight as you can throughout. Whether your feet are on an exercise ball or not, you will raise your butt up to the ceiling (also why this is called the “Butt Up Plank”). Slowly return yourself to the starting plank position.
22. Renegade Row Plank:
Get into the push-up position with a dumbbell in each hand. One arm at a time, pull the dumbbell towards your chest while keeping your elbow close to your body (don’t let it go outwards like a chicken wing).
23. Reverse Plank:
Sitting on your bottom with your legs straight out in front of you and your hands on the floor at your sides, push yourself up onto your palms and your feels.
24. Plank Walk:
In this plank variation, there are two ways you can do it. You can be moving from side to side while in the full plank… or you can be moving front to back while in the full plank. For the front to back plank walk, you will start in the plank position. You will be walking forward while in this position. You’ll have to elevate your hips while you move the right hand forward and the left leg forward.
For the lateral plank walk: With your hands together (instead of shoulder width apart) and your feet together, you will take your right hand and right foot and move outward to the right. Then, bring your left hand foot to your right, bringing them together. You can continue moving to the right if there is enough room, or you can just move over once. Then move to the left in the same fashion.
25. Lateral Plank Jump:
The Lateral Plank Jump begins in the full plank position on your hands. You will be jumping from side to side; so, you can place something like a dumbbell or a closed water bottle to jump over. To make this exercise more challenging, you can do the around the world plank mentioned below!
26. Suicide Plank:
Start on your forearms in the elbow plank. Push yourself up into the push up position (or full plank), one arm at a time. Then, once in the full plank position, you will lower yourself back down to your forearms, one arm at a time.
27. Around the World Plank Jump:
You will begin in the full plank position. Your legs will be moving in a semi-circle fashion around your upper body. Jump your feet to the right side of your upper body (close to your hands) then back to the beginning plank position. Then, jump your feet to the left side of your upper body.
28. In and Out Plank:
While planking, thrust your knees towards your chest. Then jump back to the starting position.
29. Ab Rolling Plank:
You will need an ab roller for this plank. An ab roller has a wheel and two handles on the side. Keep your back straight. Roll yourself out to a standard plank, then roll yourself back up.
The following plank variations are in the SIDE PLANK position! Therefore, you’ll have to complete them on the right side and the left side.
30. Side Plank:
This is another plank variation that can be done on your hands or on your elbow. Start by laying on your side. One foot will be stacked on top of the other. Your upper body will be supported by your forearm. Your elbow will be under your shoulder. Push your hips and legs up so that you make a straight line with your entire body. You can place your other arm (the one that is not supporting your weight) by your side, hand on hip, or straight in the air.
31. Side Plank Crunch:
To engage your obliques even more (to get a smaller waist!), you can do a side crunch when you’re holding a side plank. Place your hand behind your head. Bring your knee up towards your elbow, while your elbow is also moving towards your knee. Make sure to keep your torso stable!
32. Side Plank with Twist:
Start with a standard side plank (forearm or hand). Your top arm should be extended upwards or you can place your hand on the back of your head. Then, move that arm/elbow towards the floor (or the space between your hip and the ground).
33. Side Plank with Inner Thigh Lift:
During a normal side plank, your top foot is laying on the bottom foot. In this side plank, the top leg’s foot should be the one that is on the ground. Lift your lower leg as high as you can. You can either hold it up or do pulsing leg lifts.
34. Side Plank with Leg Lift:
In the side plank position, lift your top leg straight up. You can either hold your leg in the air or you can lift it up and down.
35. Side Plank with Hip Dips:
While you are holding a side plank, dip your hips to the ground. Then, raise them back up (and you can go past the starting position if you’d like).
Bonus Planks: Many of these exercises can also be done with a Bosu Ball! This can make the ab exercise more challenging because you won’t be as stable.
*Note: The abdominal plank images are from Workout Labs. CWPS doesn’t design, create, or own these images.
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