More for Your Core: the 11 Craziest Plank Exercise Variations for Your Abs

plank

Working on your core shouldn’t be such a bore — that’s why you gotta shake things up with some of the best plank variations. Seriously, mixing it up workout-wise will do more than keep your killer core workouts from going stale; it can actually prevent you from reaching an ever-dreadful plateau and it can challenge your body no matter what. Plus, some of these are just plain fun!

From high-flying plank alternatives to an awesome TRX ab exercise, we’ve got some of the most engaging plank exercise variations around. So matey, how about it? Arrre you down to walk the plank?

First, the Basics

Before we talk plank alternatives, let’s discuss some basics on how to make your plank perfect:

  • Always engage your core—pretend like someone punched your belly hard and you’re reacting
  • Make sure your hands (or elbows if you’re in a low plank) are directly below your shoulders
  • The wider your stance is, the easier the plank
  • Keep your body in a straight line from the crown of the head to the crook of your knees

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to that list! You’ll see a lot of these moves in Studio SWEAT onDemand’s online and in app library of mid-section carving Ab & Core Classes.

Walk the Plank

  • From plank position, slowly walk your hands back to your legs
  • Try to keep your legs straight and your head down, but not dipped
  • Feel the stretch in your back and your hamstrings
  • Stop when your hands are at your feet and you’re folded at the waist
  • Walk your hands back to your starting plank position
  • Repeat 5 times

Pro tip: You can have a slight bend at the knees if you’re not limber enough to keep them straight.

Chaturanga Push-Up Plank

  • From a plank position, slowly lower your body
  • Push your hips down to keep your body in a straight line
  • Without your belly touching the ground, lower your body until your elbows are touching your ribs

Plank Hip Dips

Ab Attack! October 1, 2015
  • From a forearm plank position, drop your left hip until it touches the floor
  • Go back to starting position
  • Drop your right hip until it touches the floor
  • Continue this motion smoothly for 30 seconds

Plank Jumps

  • From a plank position, jump your feet outwards
  • Jump your feet back to center
  • Continue the motion, so that it resembles jumping jacks
  • Continue for 30 seconds

Pro tip: Engaging your core and keeping your hips down will keep your body straight even when you’re doing the jumps.

Superman Planks

superman planks
  • From plank position, lift your right leg off the ground
  • Engage your core and lift your left arm off the ground
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Reverse your hands and legs
  • Hold for 10 seconds

Knee Drive

Yoga for Beginners
  • From plank position, push your hips back until you’re bent at the waist and your head is pointing down (downward dog position)
  • Lift your left leg up so your foot is pointed at the ceiling
  • Then as you return to plank position, drive your left knee to tap your left elbow
  • Continue this motion for 30 seconds
  • Repeat for the right leg

Pro tip: Keep your hips square to the ground for this plank exercise modification.

Side Plank Leg Swings

yoga online classes best Classic Yoga Flow
  • Get into a side plank position on your left arm
  • Make sure your feet are stacked on top of each other
  • Swing your right leg in front of you, then behind you
  • Engage your core
  • Continue this motion for 30 seconds
  • Repeat for the right side

Rocking Planks

  • From a forearm plank position, slightly lift your hips and push your shoulders backwards
  • Then, shift forward and down until your chest almost touches the ground
  • Push back up to the starting forearm plank position
  • Continue this rocking motion for 30 seconds

TRX Plank/Crunches

TRX crunch
  • Begin in the facedown position with your feet in the TRX straps and your body in a prone position – you can be in high plank (hands) or low plank (elbows)
  • Slowly lift your hips as you bend your knees to bring them up to your belly
  • Straighten your knees
  • Continue this motion fluidly for 30 seconds

Plank Modification for a Shoulder Injury

Don’t want an injury to stop you from trying an awesome workout? Check out this plank modification for a shoulder injury:

  • Lie on your right side, body in a straight line, feet stacked on top of each other
  • Support your head and neck with your right hand
  • Steady yourself by touching the floor with your left fingertips
  • Lift your legs off the ground
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat on the left side

We think you’re going to find one of your favorite exercises ever somewhere among our awesome plank modifications. But if you’re still looking for the perfect plank, sign up for our 7-Day Free Trial. You’ll get unlimited access to literally hundreds of the hottest workouts like Ab & Core, Spin, TRX, Bootcamp, HIIT, Yoga, and more. What’s cooler is that each class is taught by a real, world-class trainer that can walk you through proper plank form, and super fun ways to jazz them up. Now let’s get some killer cores!

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