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The Powered-Up Plank Workout That HIITs Your Core Hard​

Peter Ardito

From barre class to boot camp, planks are everywhere—and that’s because nothing beats them for strengthening your core, says trainer Kira Stokes, creator of the Stoked Method, a high-intensity training system. “The core muscles [including abs, back, and glutes] power all of your body’s movement,” Stokes says. “Firming them up will improve your performance, prevent injury, and make daily activity feel easier.” Not to mention cinch your waist. (Jumpstart flatter abs by knowing the best and worst foods for them.)

But a static plank doesn’t rank high on the calorie-burning scale, so for this HIIT quickie, Stokes cooked up moving versions that let you burn while you firm and added some plyometric bursts to fire things up even more. Your mission through each of the three mini circuits: “Keep moving so your heart rate stays up and you rev your metabolism,” she says.

And make sure your planks are on point: First, your hands or forearms should be directly below your shoulders. Roll your shoulders back, draw your navel in toward your spine, squeeze your glutes (so much so that your butt looks flat), and tuck your pelvis so it’s in line with your hips, says Stokes. “This protects your spine and helps you better engage the glutes so you firm your backside as well as your abs,” she explains. Finally, engage your quads and push through your heels to lengthen your calves. Got your form in check? Good— you’re ready to (re)meet the plank. (Love what Kira's served up? Next, check out the 30-day plank challenge she created just for Shape.)

You'll need: a mat is optional. 
How it works: Do each of the three circuits twice before moving onto the next one.

Circuit 1

Air Squat to Squat Jump

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, arms by sides. 
B. Do 1 squat. Immediately do 1 squat jump.
C. Continue alternation for 30 seconds

Plank Tap Climbers

A. Start on floor in plank on palms. Tap right hand on left shoulder. Switch sides; repeat. Repeat.
B. Then pull bent right leg toward chest; switch sides, repeat. Repeat.
C. Continue alternation shoulder taps with mountain climbers for 45 seconds.

Triceps Push-Up/Hip Dip/Leg Lift

A. Start on floor in plank on palms. Do 1 push-up.
B. Shift weight to right hand and rotate into side plank on right palm, stacking feet. Drop hips 2 to 3 inches. Return to side plank. Repeat.
C. Raise left leg about 2 feet, then lower. Repeat.
D. Return to start. Do 1 push-up then switch sides (side plank on left palm); repeat entire sequence.
E. Continue for 1 minute.

Scale Down: When in side plank, omit leg lift and instead return directly to start.

Forearm Plank Knee-to-Elbow

A. Start on floor in plank on forearms. Bring bent right knee to touch right elbow. 
B. Return to start. Switch sides; repeat.
C. Continue alternating sides for 30 seconds.

Scale Up: After bringing knee to elbow, extend leg back, hovering leg 2 inches above floor to 2 seconds. Continue on same side for 15 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Circuit 2

Lateral Lunge Plyo

A. Stand with feet together, hands on hips to start. Step right foot wide out to right (toes pointing forward), bending right leg 90 degrees (left leg is straight).
B. Return to start. Repeat, this time jumping to return to start.
C. Continue alternating a lateral lunge with a lateral lunge-jump for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Plank Up/Down and Jacks

A. Start on floor in plank on palms. Lower onto right forearm, then left.
B. Press back up to right palm, then left. Switch sides; repeat.
C. Next, hop feet wide, then immediately hop them in to start. Repeat.
D. Continue alternating up-downs with plank jacks for 1 minute.

Moving Lateral Plank to Push-Up

A. Start on floor in plank on palms. Simultaneously walk right hand and foot toward the right, followed by left hand and left foot. Repeat.
B. Do one push-up. Switch sides; repeat.
C. Continue alternation for 1 minute.

Scale Up: Replace push-up with 1 burpee.

Side Plank Tap

A. Start on floor in plank on forearms. Shift weight onto right forearm and rotate into a right side plank, stacking feet.
B. Tap left foot to floor in front of body, then behind you.
C. Continue alternation floor taps for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Scale Down: From side plank, tap left foot to floor in front of body for 15 seconds. Tap left foot to floor behind you for 15 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Circuit 3

Sumo Squat/ Sumo Squat Jump

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out 45 degrees, arm by sides. 
B. Do 1 squat. Immediately do 1 squat jump.
C. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.

Moving Panther Plank

A. Start in tabletop position with knees raised 2 inches off floor. 
B. Simultaneously walk right hand and left foot forward 2 inches, then left hand and right foot. Continue for three steps.
C. Return to start. Lift right hand and left foot off floor, touching right hand to left knee. Switch sides; repeat sequence. Repeat.
D. Next, simultaneously step right hand and left foot backward 2 inches, then left hand and right foot. Continue for three steps.
E. Return to start. Bend elbows so they point in slightly toward ribs to lower torso a few inches, then press back up. Repeat. 
F. Repeat this entire sequence as many times as you can for 1 minute.

Scale Down: From tabletop position (with knees raised), lift right hand and left foot off floor 2 inches. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Switch sides, lifting left hand and right foot. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Continue alternating for 1 minute.

Forearm Plank Alternation Hip Dip/Walk-Ups

A. Start on floor in plank on forearms. Drop right hip to right, then left hip to left. Repeat twice.
B. Walk feet toward hands, shifting hips back and up into downward dog position. Walk feet back to plank.
C. Continue alternation hip dips and down dog for 1 minute.

Plank Reach

A. Start on floor in plank on palms. 
B. Extend right arm forward and left leg back; hold for 2 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. 
C. Continue alternating sides for 1 minute.

Scale Up: From plank, extend right arm forward and left leg back. Bring right elbow to left knee, then extend back out. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating sides for 1 minute.

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