Tone Your Abs With These 6 Plank Variations

The plank exercise has many benefits. It can tone your abs, strengthen your core, and reduce slouching.

Unlike most ab exercises, the plank engages many muscles in the body, including the shoulders, legs, arms, and back muscles. But what I love most about this exercise is that it undoes the effects of sitting all day by stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the core.

Even though doing the classic plank can give you most these benefits, combining different variations is even more beneficial. Here are 6 plank variations you should add to your routine.

6 Plank Variations

1. Straight Arm (Classic) Plank

Most beginners can perform this variation. It strengthens the arms, shoulder, and the core.

How to perform:

  • Get in the pushup starting position.
  • Keep your palms directly below the shoulders and hands straight.
  • Keep the legs together and straight.
  • Make sure the torso, hips, and legs are aligned in a straight line Ė avoid raising the hips or letting them sink.
  • Hold this position as long as you can.

straight arm plank

2. Elbow plank

The elbow plank is more challenging than the straight arm plank, but the straight arm plank engages the arms and shoulders more.

How to perform:

  • Lie on the floor and place your elbows on the floor (directly below the shoulders).
  • Lift your legs and stomach off the floor. Keep the legs, hips and torso aligned in a straight line.
  • Tighten the glute muscles, then hold that position as long as you can.

elbow plank

3. Knee plank

If you canít perform the two variations above, do the knee plank. It requires less core strength.

How to perform:

  • Lie on your stomach and place your elbows on the floor.
  • Lift the torso and thighs off the floor.
  • Keep the knees on the floor, and make sure your back is straight.
  • Now hold that position as long as you can.

knee plank

4. Side plank

The side plank tones the abs and oblique muscles (side abs). This exercise also strengthens the shoulders.

How to perform:

  • Lie sideways on a yoga mat and place the elbow of the bottom arm on the floor (directly below the shoulder). Keep the legs stacked.
  • Lift the torso, hips and legs off the floor, and keep them aligned in a straight line.
  • Hold that position as long as you can.
  • Lie on the other side, and hold the plank for the same duration.

side plank man

5. Knee side plank

The side plank is quite challenging, and most beginners canít perform it. Use this variation to build the strength needed to perform the side plank.

How to perform:

  • Lie sideways, and keep the legs stacked.
  • Place your elbow on the floor, and then lift the torso, hips and thighs off the floor.
  • Tighten the butt and ab muscles, then hold that position.

knee side plank

6. Decline plank

This is an advanced plank variation. Itíll help you build a killer core and tone your abs.

How to perform:

  • Get in the elbow plank position, then place your feet on a bench or chair.
  • Keep the legs, hips and torso aligned in a straight line.
  • Tighten the butt muscles, then hold that position as long as you can.

decline plank

Aim to increase your plank duration after every set.†Whatís your favorite plank variation?

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25 comments

Ellie M
Ellie M2 months ago

ty

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Michele B
Michele B2 months ago

this article is a keeper...thanx much

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Winn A
Winn Adams2 months ago

Tks

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Winn A
Winn Adams2 months ago

Not for me.

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Elena P
Elena Poensgen2 months ago

Thank you

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Elena P
Elena Poensgen2 months ago

Thank you

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Anne M
Anne Moran2 months ago

Think I'll just walk the plank...

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Lenore K
Lenore K2 months ago

ok

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Philippa P
Philippa Powers2 months ago

Thanks.

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

Good to know

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