20 Plank Exercises You Can Do at Home
What is a plank and why should I do it?
They’ll work more than just your core.
This is what most people consider a standard plank.
Lie facedown with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; palms flat on the floor. Place feet hip-width apart, and elbows shoulder-width apart. Engage your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body (forearms remain on the ground; press the floor away from you with forearms). You should form straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
RELATED: 5 Plank Variations You Need to Try
This plank looks like the top of a push-up and requires shoulder stabilization, too.
Start on all fours with wrists directly under shoulders, toes on the floor. Then, step one foot back and then the other as you engage abs and straigthen legs. Press the floor away from you with hands. You should form a straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
This variation on the typical plank exercise turns up the burn on your obliques, or the muscles on the sides of your midsection, while still working your deep core muscles.
Start lying on right side, hips, knees, and feet stacked. Place right hand on floor, pressing it away from you, as you engage your right oblqiues and lift hips toward the ceiling. Lift left arm toward the ceiling, forming a T with arms. You should form a straight, diagonal line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.
In this video, learn how to work out your back and shoulders by doing a modified plank. The dolphin plank is easier to do than a traditional plank because you can use your forearms for balance, which takes the pressure off of your wrist joints. See the next workout moveSee the full workout for sleek, sexy arms
Side plank crunch
Not your usual crunch or side plank—but a blend of the two.
Begin in a straight arm side plank on your right side, with hips, knees, and feet stacked and right shoulder stacked directly over right wrist. Place left hand behind head. Bend through left side to crunch up and over to the left, driving left knee in toward elbow. Slowly return back to side plank, keeping left hand behind head. Go for 30 seconds or 8-10 reps, then switch sides.
Plank knee tap
- This exercise works both the rectus abdominus (six-pack) and transverse abdominus (those muscles that wrap around your torso like a corset).
- Start in a forearm plank, feet hip-width apart, elbows shoulder-width apart and directly under shoulders. Form straight line from shoulders to heels. Tilt pelvis forward slightly, keeping hips steady, and bend both knees toward floor. Pause for a few seconds, then straigthen legs again, pressing through heels. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds or 10-12 reps.
This makes your plank exercise a little more dynamic as you start standing and work your way down to the floor.
Start standing, feet together. Bend forward at the waist and place hands on the floor. Walk out hands out to a plank position, shoulders directly over wrists, and forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping your hips in line with shoulders, draw right knee in toward chest. Pause, then step it back to plank. Repeat on the left side. Then walk hands back toward feet and roll up to stand. Repeat from the top. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 8-10 reps.
RELATED: How to Get a Flat Stomach at Any Age
Twisting knee plank
Consider this a slow mountain climber, with a few extra twists (literally).
Start in a straight arm plank, shoulders directly over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping shoulders steady, twist lower body to the left, bringing right hip toward floor. Return to center. Then twist lower body to the right, bringing left hip toward floor. Return to center. Next, pull left knee in toward right elbow. Pause, then step it back to plank. Finally, bring right knee in toward left elbow. Pause, then step it back to plank. Continue alternatining hip twists and diagonal knee pulls. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 10-12 reps total.
Resistance band plank
Add a resistance band to your plank and you can really turn up the burn on your shoulders, targeting the stability of your upper half right along with your core.
Place a mini looped band around forearms, just above wrists. Get into a straight arm plank, with shoulders directly over wrists, forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Step left hand out to the left as far as you can. Pause, then bring it back to shoulder-width. Then, step right hand out to the right as far as you can. Pause, then bring it back to shoulder-width. Continue alternating. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 8-10 reps per side.
A solid first step in challenging your balance, this plank exericise takes added core strength.
Start in a straight-arm plank, shoulders directly over wrists, feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Form a straight line from shoulders to heels. Lift right leg up and hold for a few seconds. Then place it back down. Repeat with left leg. Continue alternating for 30 to 60 seconds or 8-10 reps per side.
RELATED: A 10-Minute Love Handle Workout
Plank with elbow lift
Get your back involved in the plank action while upping the ante on your stability challenge!
Start in a straight arm plank position, shoulders directly over wrists and feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Form a straight line from shoulders to heels. With abs engaged, squeeze upper back muscles while drawing left elbow back and up. Keep arm close to body and bring palm to rib cage. Slowly straighten arm back down to floor. Repeat with right arm. Continue alternating. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 8-10 reps per side. Want to test your core strength even more? Simultaneously lift the opposite leg.
Plank with opposite limb extension
Plank with same-side limb extension
Push-up side plank
A push-up is ultimately a moving plank. In this variation, you strengthen your chest to add a new spin to your plank.
Get in push-up position or straight arm plank, with shoulders right over wrists and feet hip-width apart. Form a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bend elbows and lower chest to ground, maintaining that straight line. Press back up. Then, pivot on feet and rotate to the right, lifting right arm to ceiling to form side plank on left side. Place hand back down in plank. Repeat push-up. Then do side plank on right side. Repeat push-up, and continue alternating side planks. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 10-12 reps total.
Side plank with inner thigh raise
Work your inner thigh as you target your obliques, too.
Start in a side plank on right side, shoulders and hips stacked, and feet staggered with right foot in front of left. You should form a straight diagonal line from shoulders to heels. Lift left arm straight up toward ceiling. Lifting through heel, raise right leg as high as you can, then return to floor. Go for 30 seconds or 8-10 reps, and then switch sides.
Side plank with twist
Another variation to your side plank exercise, this one requires extra rotation from your upper body.
Start in a side plank on your right forearm, shoulder directly over elbow, with shoulders, hips, and feet stacked. Press through your right forearm to lift hips. Extend left arm toward the ceiling. Scoop your left arm underneath your body, rotating just your shoulders toward the floor. Extend left arm back up, re-stacking shoulders and repeat. Go for 30 seconds or 8-10 reps, and then switch sides.
Plank with side snatch
Adding a dumbbell to your plank will fire up your abs, while also strengthening your back (at least with this variation!).
Start in a straight arm plank with each hand holding a dumbbell. Shoulders still go directly over wrists, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Pivot on your feet as you pull right arm up and overhead, bending elbow and rotating to the right. Dumbbell should line up with shoulder at the top, forming a T shape with arms. Pause, then slowly rotate back toward floor, coming back onto toes and placing dumbbell back on the ground, shoulders over wrists. Repeat on the left side. Continue alternating. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 8-10 reps per side.
Adding a jump to the standard plank engages your core even more. Make sure to keep your pelvis steady and your back straight, as shown by Alison Sweeney in this video. Repeat for 1 minute, eventually building up to 5 minutes as you get stronger. Alison Sweeney's next workout moveSee the full workout
Adding a ball to your plank means your core shows up even more to keep you steady on an unsteady surface.
Place your shins and tops of your feet on a stability ball with your hands on the ground in plank position, shoulders directly over wrists. Engage your core, squeeze your butt muscles, and slightly tuck your pelvis forward to maintain a straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
The key to keeping your abs working during this move: maintain strong posture by pressing into the ball with your forearms, squeezing your butt, and engaging your legs.
Kneel in front of a stability ball with your forearms and elbows on the ball, hands clasped. Roll ball forward to extend legs and form a forearm plank position on the ball, toes tucked. Your shoulders should stack directly over elbows, chest lifted off the ball, and neck in line with spine. Brace your abs and slightly tuck pelvis forward. Make small circles to the right with forearms, as if stirring a pot. Keep hips steady. Go for 20 to 30 seconds in each direction.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter