19 Plank Exercises You Can Do at Home

Change up your core workout with these creative variations on the plank exercise.

Stir-the-pot-plank
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There are a number of exercises out there that can help you strengthen your core, such as squats or the bridge pose. Another such exercise considered to be a muscle-strengthening activity is a plank, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Per an August 2021 Medicina article, planks are "derived from Pilates, yoga, and stretching, and can be performed by anyone with minimal spatial requirements." Additionally, as it is an isometric exercise, where your body is held in one position for a set period of time, a plank engages several of your muscles at once—from your shoulders to your feet.

You can also burn a lot of calories with this exercise without it taking up too much time in your day. Plus, doing planks over time will help stabilize those muscles.

Here are several plank variations you can include in your exercise routine.

Forearm Plank

This is what most people consider a standard plank.

Lie face down with your legs extended and elbows bent directly under your shoulders, with your palms flat on the floor. Place your 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 yourself with your forearms). You should form a straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Straight-Arm Plank

This plank looks like the top of a push-up and requires shoulder stabilization too.

Start on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your toes on the floor. Then, step one foot back and then the other as you engage your abs and straighten your legs. Press the floor away from you with your hands. You should form a straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Side Plank

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 by lying on your right side—hips, knees, and feet stacked. Place your right hand on the floor, pressing it away from yourself, as you engage your right obliques and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Lift your left arm toward the ceiling, forming a T with your arms and a straight, diagonal line from shoulders to heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.

Dolphin 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.

Beginning in a forearm plank position, shift your hips toward the ceiling to create an inverted V shape. Lower your hips to return to the forearm plank position. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

Side Plank Crunch

This isn't 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 your right shoulder stacked directly over your right wrist. Place your left hand behind your head. Bend through your left side to crunch up and over to the left, driving your left knee in toward your elbow. Slowly return back to the side plank, keeping your left hand behind your head. Go for 30 seconds or 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, your feet hip-width apart and elbows shoulder-width apart directly under your shoulders. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Tilt your pelvis forward slightly, keeping your hips steady, and bend both knees toward the floor. Pause for a few seconds, then straighten your legs again to return to your forearm plank. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds or 10 to 12 reps.

Caterpillar Plank

This makes your plank exercise a little more dynamic as you start standing and work your way down to the floor.

Start by standing with your feet slightly less than hip-width apart. Bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the floor. Walk your hands out to a plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists, forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping your hips in line with your shoulders, draw your right knee in toward your chest. Pause, then step back to the plank position. Repeat on the left side. Then walk your hands back toward your feet and roll up to stand. Repeat from the top. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or about 10 reps.

Twisting Knee Plank

Consider this a slow mountain climber with a few extra twists.

Start in a straight arm plank, shoulders directly over wrists, and forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping your shoulders steady, twist your lower body to the left, bringing your right hip toward the floor. Return to the center. Then twist your lower body to the right, bringing your left hip toward the floor. Return to the center. Next, pull your left knee toward your right elbow. Pause, then step it back to a plank. Finally, bring your right knee toward your left elbow. Pause, then step back to the plank. Continue alternating hip twists, and diagonal knee pulls. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 10 to 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 your forearms, just above your wrists. Get into a straight arm plank, with your shoulders directly over your wrists, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Step your left hand out to the left as far as you can. Pause, then bring it back to shoulder-width distance. Then, step your right hand out to the right as far as you can. Pause, then bring it back to shoulder-width distance. Continue alternating. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 10 reps per side.

One-Legged Plank

A solid first step in challenging your balance, this plank exercise takes added core strength.

Start in a straight-arm plank, with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Lift your right leg up and hold for a few seconds. Then place it back down. Repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating for 30 to 60 seconds or around 10 reps per side.

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 your wrists and feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. With abs engaged, squeeze your upper back muscles while drawing your left elbow back and up. Keep your arm close to your body and bring your palm to your rib cage. Slowly straighten your arm back down to the floor. Repeat with your right arm. Continue alternating. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or eight to 10 reps per side.

If you want to test your core strength even more, simultaneously lift your opposite leg.

Plank With Opposite Limb Extension

Begin in a straight-arm plank position. Keep your spine straight and your abs engaged as you draw your opposite arm and leg together (e.g., right arm and left leg), then extend back out. Do 12 to 15 reps on each side.

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 a push-up position or straight arm plank, with your shoulders right over your wrists and feet hip-width apart. Form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the ground, maintaining that straight line. Press back up. Then, pivot on your feet and rotate to the right, lifting your right arm toward the ceiling to form a side plank on your left side. Place your hand back down to return to the plank position. Repeat the push-up. Then do a side plank on your right side. Repeat the push-up, and continue alternating side planks. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or 10 to 12 reps total.

Side Plank With Inner Thigh Raise

Work your inner thigh with this plank as you target your obliques too.

Start in a side plank on the right side, shoulders and hips stacked, and feet staggered with your right foot in front of your left. You should form a straight diagonal line from shoulders to heels. Lift your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. Lifting through the heel, raise your right leg as high as you can, then return to the floor. Go for 30 seconds or eight to 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, your shoulder directly over your elbow, with shoulders, hips, and feet stacked. Press through your right forearm to lift your hips. Extend your left arm toward the ceiling. Scoop your left arm underneath your body, rotating just your shoulders toward the floor. Extend your left arm back up, re-stacking shoulders, and repeat. Go for 30 seconds or eight to 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 using this variation.

Start in a straight arm plank with each hand holding a dumbbell. Your shoulders still go directly over your wrists, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Pivot on your feet as you pull your right arm up and overhead, bending your elbow and rotating to the right. The dumbbell should line up with your shoulder at the top, forming a T shape with your arms. Pause, then slowly rotate back toward the floor, coming back onto your toes and placing the dumbbell back on the ground with your shoulders over your wrists. Repeat on the left side. Continue alternating. Go for 30 to 60 seconds or eight to 10 reps per side.

Plank Jacks

Adding a jump to the standard plank engages your core even more.

Begin with a straight-arm or forearm plank. Gently jump your feet in and out as you would with standing jumping jacks, always landing softly. Make sure to keep your pelvis steady and your back straight. Repeat for 1 minute, eventually building up to 5 minutes as you get stronger.

On-the-Ball Plank

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.

Stir-the-Pot Plank

The key to keeping your abs working during this move is to maintain a 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 the ball forward to extend your legs and form a forearm plank position on the ball, toes tucked. Your shoulders should stack directly over your elbows, with your chest lifted off the ball and your neck in line with your spine. Brace your abs and slightly tuck your pelvis forward. Make small circles to the right with your forearms, as if stirring a pot. Keep your hips steady. Go for 20 to 30 seconds in each direction.

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