Planks are tough and versatile. They help you build isometric strength, improve your posture and sculpt your waistline. The plank is one of the best movements that engages your core, while recruiting more than 20 muscles in the exercise. Your shoulders, back, arms, legs and glutes will definitely get an exercise out of it as well! Moreover, planks have an extremely low risk of back injury or over-stressed hip flexors, and did we mention you will need no equipment for these?

Here are some quick tips: contract your muscles as you hold the plank and keep your body stiff. Make sure that you vacuum (suck in) your stomach for a sculpted waistline. Hold both the vacuum and the plank for as long as you can. Try going for 20 seconds at first and increase the hold period over time. Practice your hold and up to 15 seconds each time you do it. Once you master beginner planks and you are able to hold them for a minute, move on to more advanced variations.



High Plank

This is a beginner plank, so the first thing you need to pay close attention to is your your form: keep your body stiff and contracted, and your spine neutral.

  • Kneel on the floor with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Lift your knees until you are supporting your weight on your toes and hands.
  • Spread your fingers for more stability.
  • Align your shoulders over your hands, and your heels over your toes.
  • Hold your body in a straight line and hold your core tight.
  • Try to hold up to 20-30 seconds!



Rocking Plank

Still a beginner plank, but this spices things up a bit. It adds a little bit of controlled movement for a more intense exercise.

  • Lie prone and place your hands on the floor. Keep your elbows under your shoulders and your legs and forefeet on the floor.
  • Raise your body upward and straighten it.
  • Rock forward on your toes until your shoulders move beyond your hands.
  • Push your shoulders back until your heels are extended beyond your toes.
  • Repeat!


Side Plank

This beginner variation strengthens lateral stability while engaging your entire core and targeting your obliques.

  • Lie on your side and place your forearm on the floor. Make sure it is under your shoulder and perpendicular to your body.
  • Place your upper leg directly on top of your lower leg and straighten your knees and hips.
  • Raise your body upwards by straightening your waist.
  • Hold up to 20-30 seconds.
  • Switch sides and repeat!


Crouching Hover Plank

Try this beginner variation to improve your balance. It also targets your abs, so it is a great exercise for a 6-pack.

  • Get on your fours and make sure your hands are right below your shoulders.
  • Tighten your core, straighten your back, and bend your legs at a 90 degrees angle.
  • Lift your knees off the ground and balance on your toes.
  • Hold for up to 20-30 seconds!



    Single-Arm Plank

    If you've mastered the beginner planks, it is time to test your strength and balance with this intermediate variation.

    • Stand on your toes and forearms keeping your body straight and you core tight.
    • Slowly lift one arm and extend it in front of you.
    • Keep your back flat and only allow your arms to extend.
    • Switch arms and repeat!


    Side Plank Crunches

    This variation adds a little bit of controlled movement. Make sure that you don't lean backwards or forwards as you perform it.

    • Lie on your side, place your forearm on the floor, and your upper leg directly on top of your lower leg and straighten your knees and hips.
    • Raise your body upwards by straightening your waist.
    • Push your bottom foot into the floor and lift your upper leg,
    • Bend your knee and bring it to your elbow, making sure that you keep your body stiff throughout the movement.
    • Hold, switch sides and repeat!


    Side Plank Mermaid Raise

    This intermediate variation give your lower back a good workout, while strengthening your core and hip flexors.

    • Get into a side plank by placing your forearm on the floor, and your upper leg directly on top of your lower leg. Make sure that your hips and knees are straight.
    • Raise your body upwards by straightening your waist.
    • Drop your bottom hip towards the floor.
    • Bring it back up and raise your hip up as high as you can.
    • Hold, switch sides, and repeat!



      Bird Dog Plank

      If you are able to hold your planks for a minute, it is time to challenge yourself even more and boost your core strength and balance.

      • From a standard plank position on your forearms and toes, lift one of your legs straight behind you and lift your opposite arm straight in front you.
      • Hold your body in this position, making sure you are forming a straight line from your fingertips to your toes.
      • Hold for a minute!


      Sea Witch Plank Crawl

      For this variation you will need a weight plate. This will challenge your tolerance and improve your balance.

      • From a standard plank position with your forearms on the floor, place your feet on a weight plate.
      • Use your forearms to drag your body forward and pull the plate behind you.
      • Do this for 1 minute!


      Scorpion Plank

      This advanced plank may sting a little, but it is very effective for your core and lower back, as well as the other muscles it recruits, like hams, quads and biceps.

      • Stand in a plank position, on your forearms and toes.
      • Raise one leg and bend at the knee.
      • Lower yourself halfway to the floor by bending your arms.
      • Reach with your raised leg over your back, touching your toe to the ground on the opposite side.
      • Hold, push back up and repeat on the other side!


      These plank variations really work wonders on your core, posture and form. You will notice improved stability and balance in no time! Make sure you follow the tips we gave you, and contract your entire body when you hold a plank, in order to strengthen your muscles.

      Suck in your stomach to ensure a sculpted waistline. Doing this when you hold your planks will produce effective results in no time! Remember to increase your hold with 15 seconds each time you do a plank, and don’t shy away from more advanced variations. These will improve your overall quality of life and training sessions!


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