I am sure you have all probably heard of a basic plank, but what about these challenging plank variations for every level?
Planks not only work your abs but also recruit your legs, arms, shoulders and your entire core. Plank-based movements are the foundation of my training and really help build total–body strength.
Why? Because you are not isolating a single muscle group. You are integrating many different muscle groups in a practical way that mimics real-life movement.
Not convinced you can get in an effective ab workout in only 5 minutes?
Then you haven’t tried planking. I have 9 of my favorite plank variations to share with you today so that you can really understand the power of a plank.
Beginner and Intermediate Plank Variations
1. Plank T Rotations
This plank variation works your obliques and arms.
Roll your toes to the side and stack your feet on top of each other. Pause in plank position and check your engaged core. Rotate hips and shoulders at the same time.
2. Low Plank Taps
This fun alternative to the standard plank works your core, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings and triceps.
Any kind of object will do. The faster you tap, the harder it gets!
3. High Plank DumbBell Pull-Through
No dumbbell or similar piece of workout equipment? No problem. Just fill up a water bottle and use that instead!
This dynamic plank variation works your core, shoulders and lats muscles.
The closer your feet are, the more impact the movement has on your core and stability. Drop your knees to make this plank variation easier.
4. High Plank Knee Touches
This plank variation will have you sweating in no time! It works your oblique muscles and shoulders.
Make this plank variation harder by keeping your feet closer together. This helps you work on stability and balance. Make this plank easier by moving your feet further apart.
Advanced Plank Variations
1. Side Plank Cross Crunch
This alternative plank will develop full-body coordination. It works your core, oblique muscles, hip flexors and shoulders.
Keep your elbows under your shoulders. Don’t let your hips drop while rotating.
2. Tiger Bend Push-Up
Is this plank variation a plank or a push-up? It’s both! It works your core, shoulders, chest and triceps.
Rock your body backward if your hips come up too much when lowering down onto your elbows. Start in an elevated position to practice this move. Focus on a straight line from shoulder to elbows and all the way through your wrists when coming up.
3. Military Walk
This alternative to the classic plank is excellent for working your core, hip flexors, shoulder and trapezius/upper back.
Try to move the opposite arm and leg at the same time for a smooth movement. Crawl backward and forward.
4. Low Plank Walk-Ins
This plank alternative combines the two classic yoga poses: plank and downward dog. It works your core, shoulders and legs.
Slowly walk into a pike position. Keep your shoulders engaged. Keep your legs as straight as possible.
You can bend your knees to make it easier.
5. Low Plank Booty Taps
This plank variation is a must-do for full-body strength! It works your glutes, triceps and quads.
Make this move even harder by raising your opposite leg at the same time you move your arm.
How should you incorporate planks into your workout?
Choose 3-5 of these plank variations and try to do them for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 2-5 times if you can.
I know that seems like a short amount of time, but—trust me—it’s challenging and you will probably need breaks. Often, I do an entire workout based on plank variations like these. Plus, you can plank anywhere and everywhere.
Here are 9 more plank variations to try!
If you have energy in the tank, you have the energy to plank!