6 Plank Variations For Awesome Abs

Core Workouts, Fitness, Training Advice, Training Tips, Workouts

By: // March 21, 2021


Planks are the rockstar of abdominal work.  There are so many reasons the plank is the holy grail of core exercises. First it’s not just for your abs. The plank also conditions and strengthens the lower back which is essential to prevent back pain.

Is the plank more effective than the crunch?

Don’t count the crunch out of your core workout routine, however, the plank does have an edge over the crunch. A plank provides superior results in terms of abdominal muscle activation and it also helps to optimize functional performance. If you have to choose one ab exercise, the plank offers more efficient and effective training for your core.

crunch vs plank

Do planks help flatten your stomach?

The plank works the very important transverse abdominal muscles as well as the rectus abdominal muscles.

The transverse abdominal muscles are what pull your stomach in for that desired “flat” abs look. Like a corset, the transverse abdominals cinch in your waist and keep a stable core.

plank exercise

Plank Variations

But now it’s time to open your eyes to all the different variations the plank has to offer! It’s so much more than just holding steady on your hands and feet while contracting your abs and glutes.

In fact, our exercise library has more than 20 types of plank crunches, and other core variations available for you to try. Explore forearm planks, to side planks to reverse planks.

We put together the following workout to take you through six great plank exercises that will be sure to leave your belly tight and your back strong!

Here’s the plan:

  • For each of the following exercises, hold or perform for 30 seconds. If you are new to planking, your holding time will be less than suggested. If you’ve been doing them already or as you improve, you might want to hold a bit longer than suggested.
  • Either way, be sure to keep good form and remember to modify with your knees any time you need.
  • Go through the core workout twice if you can!

Plank To Single Arm Reach

  plank-to-single-arm-reach_exercise

How to do single arm reach plank

A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in a straight line.

B) Raise your right arm and hold keeping abs tight. Repeat on the other side.

Side Plank Lift and Lower
side-plank-lift-and-lower_exercise

How to do a plank lift

A) Start by laying on your right side with forearm below shoulder, body lifted and legs long and feet stacked. Keep body straight, abs tight and place left hand on hip.

B) Dip your hips down towards the mat and lift back up to starting position using your obliques and core muscles. Aim for 10 reps on each side.

Plank To Balance Plank

  plank-to-balance-plank_exercise

How to do a balance plank

A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in a straight line.

B) Simultaneously raise your right hand off and left foot off the floor, squeezing abs and glutes.

C) Return hand and foot with control and switch sides. This is a whole body plank, and you’ll feel it by the end.

Side Plank Crunches

side-plank-crunch_exercise

How to do a plank crunch

A) Start by laying on your right side with forearm below shoulder, body lifted and legs long and feet stacked. Keep body straight, abs tight and place left hand on hip.

B) Bring the elbow on your top arm and knee on your top leg in to tap elbow and knee together, then reach both long and repeat the tap working your obliques and entire core with these crunches.

Reverse Plank

reverse-plank_exercise

How to do a reverse plank

A) Start seated on the floor with legs long in front of your body. Place hands behind your hips slightly wider than shoulders with fingers pointed towards your hips.

B) Lift hips and torso off the floor and gaze up towards the ceiling keeping your neck relaxed. Keep your body in a long line with softly pointed toes. Hold for 30 seconds then release to floor slowly.

Cross-Body Plank

cross-body-obliques_exercise

How to do a cross body plank

A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.

B) Pull your right knee under your belly to touch your left elbow, then release back to start position.

C) Now pull your left knee under your belly to touch your right elbow, then release back to start position. Continue for desired number of reps. Keep abs tight and keep body in control.

Watch this quick video as I demonstrate all 6 plank positions: 

 

READ THIS NEXT: Plank Your Way To Flat Abs


Printed from GetHealthyU.com

4 Comments


on February 7, 2021 at 8:01 AM Reply

These moves are awesome been following you for 4/5 years now


on March 7, 2020 at 8:53 PM Reply

Do you have any modified planks for a post surgical 70 something who would love to do this.


    on August 18, 2020 at 11:16 AM Reply

    Hi Terre - of course! So actually if you type in "Modified plank" in our search engine on www.gethealthyu.com all of these exercises are shown modified. So for example one of the exercise is a plank reach - here is the modified version: https://gethealthyu.com/exercise/modified-plank-single-arm-reach/


on December 10, 2016 at 11:37 AM Reply

These moves are awesome , however I hurt my elbow at work and it hurts to do anything and i really wanna get fit . My doctor said people underestimate having a sprained muscle and it can take several months to heel and it seems that way , I wanna know does anyone havecany suggestions?



(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
Send this to a friend