Want to burn calories and find full-body strength while carving out a six-pack? These 10 plank variations can help you get there
Burn more calories and better train your body for the demands of everyday life—both inside and outside of the gym—by adding movement to the tried and true plank, a move designed to help develop full-body stability and control when moving. These creative twists on a classic exercise not only strengthen your core while sparing your spine, but they also work your entire body in a more functional way, helping you to maximizing your workout results and enhance your overall quality of movement. (Don’t forget to eat belly-flattening foods! See these Best and Worst Foods for Flat Abs.) Trade out your basic plank for any of these moves (or try all 10 together for a killer routine!).
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Plank to Pike
Get in plank with feet positioned on top of either a set of gliders or a pair of paper towels. For more of a challenge, place feet on top of a stability ball.
Slowly transition to a pike position: Lift hips and draw feet toward hands, holding for 3 seconds.
Reverse the movement, returning to starting plank. Complete 10 to 12 reps.
2. Twister Plank
Get in plank with a different colored piece of paper positioned just outside each corner of the mat.
If working out with a partner, have him/her call out different combinations at random, such as right hand blue and left foot green. If exercising alone, create a list of possible combinations to complete.
Hold each combo for 2 to 3 seconds and return to start position. Complete 8 to 10 different combinations.
3. Plank Out
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Crouch down and touch floor with fingertips.
Without moving feet, begin walking hands forward, using the core for control.
Walk hands forward until fully outstretched into an extended plank. Reverse movement, walking hands back to toes and keeping core engaged until back at start position. Do 8 to 10 reps.
4. Rolling Plank
Lie on stomach with both forearms folded in front of chest, parallel with top edge of mat. Press up to forearm plank keeping core engaged and head aligned with spine.
Shift weight onto left forearm and drive right elbow up and back, opening to side plank with feet staggered.
Quickly return to start position and repeat to opposite side for second rep. Complete 10 to 12 reps total, alternating sides.
5. Tick Tock Plank
Get in a high plank position with wrists positioned below shoulders, spine straight.
With core engaged, jump right foot out to side, keeping hips and shoulders squared to mat.
Quickly jump right foot back to starting position while simultaneously jumping left foot out to side. Continue, alternating sides.
6. Walking Plank
In forearm plank, begin to laterally arm crawl the length of your mat: Keep core engaged and shoulders and hips squared to the floor as you move the right elbow and right foot.
Maintain the same body position as you move left elbow and left foot, traveling the length of the mat.
Reverse the direction, returning back to starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat two more times.
7. Side Plank With Hip
Begin in a side plank with forearm on mat and elbow below shoulder.
With control, drop right hip toward mat, hovering a few inches above the floor.
Press back up to starting position and repeat, complete 12 to 15 reps before switching sides.
8. Bosu Plank With Hip Extension
Get in a plank, holding edges of Bosu with dome side down.
With core engaged, slowly lift the right leg.
Return to starting position and repeat with left leg for one complete rep. Do 8 to 10 reps.
9. Stir the Pot
Kneel behind stability ball with forearms on top of ball and elbows under shoulders. Press up onto balls of feet, coming to plank with core engaged and spine neutral.
Move forearms in a clockwise direction for 5 reps.
Change direction, circling arms counterclockwise for another 5 reps.
10. Plank-Up With a Twist
Get in a forearm plank. Press right hand into the ground and then left hand, rising to a plank.
Rotate body to the right and extend left arm toward the sky for a side plank variation, allowing left leg to scissor over top of right with inner edge of left foot and outer edge of the right foot touching the ground.
Return to plank. Release right forearm back down to ground, then left forearm, returning to starting position.
Repeat the sequence for a second, this time starting with left hand and coming to a left side plank. Continue the movement pattern without pausing, alternating sides for a total of 8 to 10 reps.