They'll work more than just your core.


Planks may be challenging, but they’re also an exercise that can literally be done anywhere. Plank at the gym, in your living room, and at the office (hey, why not?)—all you need is a mat, if you want one. And while you might put your fitness routine on pause when traveling, it’s easy to do a plank in your hotel room and feel that deep burn before heading to an indulgent vacation meal.

Crunches have long been called the move to get a tighter midsection, but planks actually engage more than twenty muscles (as opposed to the half dozen that crunches work), from your back, arms, and shoulders to your hamstrings and booty. Plus, planks are actually better for your posture and safer for your spine than sit-ups. Adios, monotonous crunches.

If you’re bored with the standard plank and want something a bit more adventurous, we have a few advanced moves to add to your abs arsenal. In the video above, Body By Simone creator Simone De La Rue demonstrates three cardio-inspired planks that will refresh your workouts and engage more than just your core.

Plank to a standing split

This move works to lengthen the hamstring of the standing leg while strengthening the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Focus on improving your balance and stability, and feel the tension being released from the spine. Do twelve reps on the right side, and then repeat on the left.

Plank to a runner’s lunge

A runner’s lunge offers a deep stretch for the hips, groin, and legs. By combining this position with a plank, you also work your upper body. Do twelve reps on each side.

Plank to a jump squat

Be sure to pause in each of the positions: the plank, the squat, and the post-jump squat. But you also want to transition quickly, because the fast movement is what builds momentum and boosts your heart rate. De La Rue recommends twelve reps on each side.