The plank is one of the best exercises you can peform to sculpt a strong core. It is an isometric exercise, meaning to hold a position against gravity instead of using resistance such as weights. However, you can certainly advance this exercise by adding a weight plate or dumbbells in the various adaptations to the basic version of the exercise.
The most common form of this exercise is the basic plank, but there are plenty of variations you can add to your workout. This exercise will strengthen your abdominal muscles and your back at the same time!
8 Plank Variations For Core Strength
#1 Basic plank
Begin this exercise in a push up position with your hands shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows and lower your body down until your weight is no longer on your hands but your forearms.
Keep your body in a tight straight line throughout the duration of the exercise.
Squeeze your abs and hold this position for thirty seconds. If you feel this is too easy, simply increase the time to sixty seconds. Make sure you don’t drop your hips or lift the glutes during this exercise.
#2 Side plank
Begin by lying on your left side with your legs straight. Hold yourself up with your left forearm. Your body will form a line.
Relax your right arm so that it sits on your hip comfortably throughout the exercise. Squeeze your abs and hold for a thirty seconds to a minute depending on your ability.
Ensure that your knees and hips stay off the ground throughout the exercise. Focus on keeping good form and increasing the time you can hold this position for.
Repeat this exercise for an equal amount of time on each side.
#3 Side plank toe touches
Begin in the side plank position. Lift the top leg up in the air and use your top arm to reach and touch your toes.
Hold your abs tight and squeeze your muscles to help maintain your balance throughout the exercise.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side for an equal amount of repetitions.
#4 Plank rows
Begin this exercise in the basic plank position with two dumbbells in your hands.
Squeeze your abs tight and maintain good form in the plank position as you row the weight in a saw like motion to the outside of your chest.
Return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm.
#5 Plank to pike
Begin in the plank position with your feet on a towel to make it easier to slide them for the exercise. You can also use a fit ball.
Begin the exercise by slowly moving into a pike position. Do this by raising the hips and pulling your feet towards your hands.
Pause for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. This is one repetition.
#6 Walking plank
Begin in a plank position. Use your hands to crawl the length of the mat.
Keep your abs squeezed tightly and your shoulders and hips should be facing the floor as you move the left elbow and foot.
Reverse the direction, returning you to the original starting position. This is one repetition.
#7 Bosu/Medicine ball plank with hip extension
Begin in a plank position. Using a bosu with the dome side facing down, hold on to the sides of the bosu.
Squeeze the abdominals and lift the left leg in a controlled manner.
Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with your right leg.
#8 Bird dog plank
Begin in a plank position. Lift your left leg up straight behind you, and lift your right arm straight in front of you.
Squeeze the abs tightly and keep your body in a straight line.
Change over to the opposite arm and leg. When you complete an equal amount of time on each side, it is considered to be one repetition.
Take Home Message
Including the plank in your routine can strengthen your core, which in turn can assist with balance and technique for almost all training exercises.
Try including some of these variation in your abs workout to keep things interesting and challenging!