Have you ever tried plank exercises? Whether you try isotonic, isometric, plyometric or calisthenics yoga , each type of exercise uses the plank in some form or the other. Here are 21 best variations of this amazing exercise that you can include in your workout regimen to get that slim, sculpted, and strong body.
Let’s have a look at the 21 effective Plank Exercises:
The plank is a balance and core conditioning exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time. Here are the plank exercises:
This is the traditional plank, which is done on your arms. Though it is the most basic form of plank, it still works out your total integrated body. The most important things to keep in mind while doing this are that your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders, and your body should be in a straight line. Here is how to do the traditional, basic plank:
- Get down on your hands and knees with your arms straight and hands placed on the floor directly under your shoulders. Your arms should form a straight line from your shoulders to the hands.
- Now, push your body up by lifting your knees such that now you are resting on your hands and the balls of your feet.
- Keep your back straight and your tush aligned with the entire body, in a line.
- Do not strain your neck and keep the abs engaged by sucking the belly button in.
- Hold the plank for 10 seconds.
2. Forearm Plank:
The Forearm Plank is also known as the Dolphin Pose in yoga. As the name suggests, this variation of plank is done on your forearms. This works exactly like the Plank, but it also targets your upper back and shoulder muscles additionally. To do the forearm plank correctly, follow these instructions:
- Start by taking the Plank position. Keep your abs tight, back straight, shoulders, back and body in a line.
- Make sure your hands are underneath your shoulders.
- Now, bend your elbows and lower yourself on your forearms, first left and then right.
- Adjust the line of your body. Make sure your elbows are underneath your shoulders and your abs tight.
3. Side Elbow Plank:
The Side Elbow Plank is a variation of the Forearm Plank. It is also done as a beginner’s version of the Side Plank. Though this variation puts slightly more pressure on your shoulders, it is easier to balance in the Side Elbow Plank.
- Start with the Forearm Plank, and make sure your form is correct as it is very important.
- Slowly and steadily lift your right arm and start turning such that your weight is balanced on your left side, and your right side is up towards the ceiling. Your front should be facing sideways.
- Now raise your right arm up towards the sky and stack your right foot on the left foot.
- Hold for 10 seconds and then do the other side.
4. Star Forearm Plank:
This is an advanced variation of the Side Elbow Plank. It challenges your flexibility, strength and balance.
- Start in the Forearm Plank position and slowly turn to the right side into the Side Elbow Plank.
- Now, balance yourself well and once done, raise your left leg up towards the sky.
- Raise your leg as high as you can and then try to hold your big toe with your raised arm.
- If you are not flexible enough to hold your toe in your hand, it is okay; just raise it as much as you can and hold the position.
5. Hip Dips:
This move is very effective for toning those love handles, getting rid of the muffin tops and for whittling your waist. It targets your obliques, abdominals and even your lats.
- Get into the Side Elbow Plank position, and balance yourself well.
- Now, dip your lower hip towards the floor and lift up again. This is your movement.
- Do 10 dips on each side.
6. Hip Twists:
Hip twists are one of the best plank exercises for toning your waist area and for strengthening your core.
- Start in the Forearm Plank position.
- Now, twist your hips and touch each hip on the floor in turns. The movement will be – twist and touch the right hip, then twist and touch the left hip.
7. Side Plank:
This is a variation of the Traditional Plank. It is very effective for correcting the upper back posture and for targeting your upper back fat. This move is great for toning the obliques.
- Get down into the Traditional Plank position with your hands under the shoulders, arms locked straight, abs tightened and body in a line.
- Now slowly and steadily lift your right arm, and turn on your left arm and foot.
- Use the strength in your arms and your core stabilizers to maintain your balance.
- Raise your right arm straight towards the sky and stack your right foot over the left one.
- Hold for 15 breaths and then do the other side.
8. Star Side Plank:
The Star Side Plank is a variation of the Side Plank exercise. It is a very advanced move, which requires a lot of balance. It is also one of the best strengthening exercises in yoga.
- Get into the Plank position and slowly turn into a Side Plank onto your right side with your left side up.
- Lift your left leg up towards the sky and try to hold your big toe with your raised hand.
- Again, if you can’t hold the toe, then just raise as high as you can. Hold for a few breaths and then do the other side.
9. Rolling Plank:
The rolling plank is a strengthening and cardio exercise that is excellent for your hips, waist, core and arms. This move can be done both on the arms and forearms.
- Start in the forearm plank position and make sure you have the form right.
- Now lift your right arm and twist your body on the left side into a Side Elbow Plank.
- The difference here will be that you do not stack your feet on each other in Rolling Planks. Just turn and come to the forearm position again, and then turn to the other side.
- Without losing your balance, keep turning from side to side. The movement will be left to center to right of center.
- Do 20 rolls.
10. Plank With Leg Lift:
Plank with leg lifts strengthens your entire upper body. By lifting one leg, you intensify the work done by your core stabilizers. This helps build their power.
- Get into your standard plank on your hands. Keep your arms locked and abs tight.
- Now, lift one leg up as high as you can, or until it becomes parallel to the ground, and hold for 10 breaths.
- Then lower that leg down and lift the other leg.
11. Plank Up-Downs:
It is a hard core strength move to get rid of that upper arm flab.
- Get into the standard plank position.
- Now bend your right elbow and set your forearm down. Then bend the left elbow and set the left forearm down as well. Now you are in a Forearm Plank.
- Now first straighten the left and then the right arm, and return to the standard plank.
- This movement is Plank to Forearm Plank and then Forearm Plank to Plank.
- Do 10 reps.
12. Plank With Oblique Crunch:
Plank with an Oblique Crunch is an intense move for your obliques and abdominals. Moreover, it targets your glutes too.
- Get into a plank on your hands and tighten your abs.
- Now, bend your left knee, turn it to the side and touch your elbow with that knee. Now squeeze those obliques.
- Straighten your leg back and then do the same with the other leg.
- Continue from side to side.
13. Swiss Ball Plank:
The Swiss Ball Plank is a raised plank, which needs a Swiss ball. It intensifies the work on your core stabilizers.
In this variation, just place your hands on the ball and do the standard plank.
14. Tummy Tucks:
Tummy Tucks are great for cardio and for targeting your abdominal muscles.
- Get into the standard plank.
- Now, lift your leg, bend your knee and touch the elbow. Then kick that leg back.
- Do 10 reps and then repeat on the other side.
15. Plank Row:
This move requires a set of dumbbells. It is a strengthening move that targets your arms, upper back and core.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and get into the plank position.
- Now bend your elbow and row that dumbbell towards your chest and lower it down.
- Do the other side. Do 10 reps for each arm.
16. Plank With Legs On Exercise Ball:
In this variation, your legs rest on the exercise ball. This move lessens the pressure on the core and intensifies the challenge for your arms.
Get into the plank position with the ball behind your legs. Shift your back, and one by one, put your legs on the ball. Keep your body straight and hold the position.
[ Read: TRX Exercises To Strengthen Your Body ]
17. Plank Pikes:
Again a great cardio move for your lower belly fat and your lower back.
- 1. Get into the plank position.
- 2. Jump your legs under your hips by raising your butt high.
- 3. Jump back into the plank.
- 4. Keep your knees straight throughout.
18. Reverse Plank:
The Reverse Plank targets your glutes, shoulder muscles and the upper back muscles.
- Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you and place your hands behind you, hip-width apart.
- Using your arms to support your weight, lift your butt off the floor until your body is in a straight line from the shoulders to the feet. This is the Reverse Plank.
19. Reverse Plank With Leg Lift:
The Reverse Plank with Leg Lift intensifies the work your core does to stabilize you into the Reverse Plank position.
- Sit on the floor and lift yourself in the reverse plank position.
- Now, slowly lift one leg up and hold. Make sure your raised leg is straight.
- Beginners should start with keeping their knees bent while doing the Reverse Plank because they might find it difficult to balance on one straight leg.
20. Plank With Donkey Kicks:
The Plank with Donkey Kicks is excellent for targeting the gluteus muscles and for toning and lifting that booty.
- Get down on your hands and knees with your hands in line with your shoulders. If you are a beginner, stay on your knees. But if you are intermediate or advanced, raise yourself into a plank.
- Lift one leg and curl it towards the sky by bending at your knees. This is your position.
- The movement you have to do is pulse that leg up and back, up and back. Try small, little pulses but squeeze the butt well with each pulse.
- Do 12-15 pulses and then start kick your leg out. The movement is curl and kick, curl and kick.
- Do with the other leg too.
21. Halfway Plank:
Halfway Plank is an isometric move in which you hold a move in its halfway position. It is great for toning the triceps and the lats.
- Get into the plank position.
- Now bend your elbows and lower into a triceps push-up.
- Hold that position for 15 breaths and then push yourself up in the plank.
Plank Exercise Benefits:
The plank targets your entire body. It strengthens and tones the arms, and your upper back muscles. You must have heard that doing crunches won’t do anything for you if you have loads of fat around your belly. Planks help you in burning that fat, and at the same time strengthen your core. The key is to suck in your belly button to keep your abdominals tight. When you do that, you actively engage your core. Your core muscles and stabilizers have to work very hard to keep you in that straight Plank. Another thing that the plank does is to get a straight line in your body. The plank helps in correcting your posture by straightening your spine, and improving the hunched shoulders.
These are 22 amazing plank exercises that tone and strengthen your entire body. For each and every exercise, make sure that your hands stay under your shoulders and your abs stay tight. Include these moves in your workout because a workout without Planks is just incomplete! Include these exercises in your regular workout to enjoy all these benefits of plank exercise.
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