Once you've mastered holding a perfect plank, challenge yourself a bit more with one of these variations.
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Planks are one of the best ways to tone your abdominal muscles and strengthen your entire body. Once you've mastered holding a perfect plank, why not challenge yourself a bit more with one of these new variations?

  • Watch the video above to learn five plank variations including:
  • *Running Man Plank
  • *Bird Dog Plank (pictured)
  • *Uneven Plank
  • *Hamstring Curl Plank
  • *Wide Stance Plank

Then keep the challenge going by trying five more plank upgrades:

Flipped Wrist Plank
I love this plank for stretching out tight wrists and shoulders. Come in to a regular plank then flip both hands around so the fingers face the toes and the inner elbows face forward (try this on all fours at first if it's too intense on the wrists or just do one hand at a time). Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.


One-Arm Plank
Come into a plank then place one hand on your lower back with your palm facing up. Try your best to keep your body parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch hands.


Toe Lock Plank
Come into a plank then rest your right foot on top of your left by taking the space between your big and second toe of your right foot and clipping it around your left Achilles heel. Pull back with your heels as much as you can to engage your core even more. Hold 30 seconds then switch sides and hold another 30 seconds.


Extended Plank
Start in a plank then walk your hands forward 10 to 12 inches in front of you (or as far as you can) and try to hold for 15 to 30 seconds.


Tree Plank
From plank bring your left heel up on your right inner thigh (like a yoga tree pose or ballet passé) turning your left knee open to the side. Hold for 30 seconds the switch legs. Bonus: Extra toning and tightening for your butt!


Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.