10 Plank Variations to Strengthen Your Core

10 Plank Variations to Strengthen Your Core

When it comes to sculpting your core muscles, it’s easy to get caught up in a monotonous routine of sit-ups and leg lifts. While these exercises have their merits, they often neglect an essential component of core training: the plank.

A static hold that requires no movement, the plank is a powerhouse exercise that targets your entire core and promotes stability throughout your body.

It’s time to break free from the monotony and switch up your plank routine with these ten variations which you can do anywhere, such as in a regular gym like Blink Fitness, a specialized boxing gym like Title Boxing Club or even at home.

Side Plank

Shift your perspective by transitioning into a side plank. Lie on your side with your legs extended and prop yourself up on your elbow, ensuring it’s beneath your shoulder. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line and hold this position, engaging your obliques. After up to 40 seconds, switch to the other side for balance.

Copenhagen Side Plank

Intensify the challenge by removing stability from the equation. Begin in a side plank position and stack your elbow beneath your shoulder. Extend both legs and support your weight on the top foot. Elevate your body by bracing your core and drive your bottom knee up, resembling a running motion. Maintain tension and return to the starting position.

Dynamic Star Plank

Inject some movement into your oblique-focused plank with the dynamic star plank. Assume a side plank position, supporting your body on one elbow. Bend your knees and push your elbow and bottom knee into the floor as you raise your top arm and leg in the shape of a star. Hold for a count before returning to the start.

Plank Rotation

While the plank is typically stationary, the plank rotation adds a dynamic twist. Begin in a high plank position with your hands beneath your shoulders and feet in line with your hands. Push one hand into the ground and lift the other off the floor, rotating your torso to reach up. Maintain focus on the hand reaching towards the sky and rotate back to the starting position.

Bear Plank

Before diving into the bear crawl, master the bear plank position. Start on your hands and knees, ensuring your hands are stacked beneath your shoulders. Lift your knees off the ground and tighten your abs and glutes, maintaining a level back and a neutral neck position.

Bear Plank Shoulder Taps

Add instability to your bear plank by performing shoulder taps. Begin in a solid bear plank position and lift one hand off the floor, tapping your opposite shoulder. Maintain hip and shoulder squareness in the unbalanced position. Place your hand back on the ground and repeat on the other side.

Bear Plank Around the World

Continue challenging your stability with the bear plank around the world variation. Start in a bear plank position, creating full-body tension. Lift one hand off the floor and reach your arms straight out while bracing your core to maintain hip and shoulder squareness. Repeat with the other arm and then lift one foot off the ground, engaging your glutes. Repeat with the other leg.

Bird Dog

While not explicitly named a plank, the bird dog exercise shares the same principles of bracing. Begin in a tabletop position with your knees on the floor. Squeeze your mid-back, abs, and glutes, and simultaneously raise your right arm and left leg. Pause briefly, squeezing your abs, and then lower back down. Repeat with the opposite limbs.

Superman Plank Hold

Unleash your inner superhero with the Superman plank hold. This challenging variation combines a single-arm plank with an overhead Pallof press concept. You’ll need a resistance band and an anchor point to perform this exercise. Assume the plank position beside the anchor point, hold the end of the band with the hand opposite the anchor, and extend your arm straight out. Brace your core and glutes to maintain stability while holding this position for two to three seconds. Perform 3 to 8 reps per arm.

Battle Rope Plank Pull

For a truly demanding plank variation, incorporate the battle rope plank pull. This exercise requires additional equipment such as a weight sled and a battle rope. Set up in a plank position, grasping the rope between your forearms. Engage your core and glutes as you pull the sled toward you, ensuring your working arm remains close to your body. Continue until the sled reaches you, then switch to the other arm. If a sled is unavailable, you can attach a resistance band to an anchor point and perform the same pulling motion for 8 to 10 reps.

Watch the proper way to do a side plank here:

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