Take your planks to the next level

By Ea Francisco

If core building is the question, planking has got to be one of the first exercises to come to mind. It may look like such a simple task, but you’d be surprised how difficult it is after a few seconds. While it can hold its own as an exercise, doing the same standard plank gets boring and ineffective over time. If you want to change up your workout, these plank variations are sure to give you a challenge.

Side Plank

Start by doing a standard plank but with your heels touching. Turn so that you are lying on your side with your elbow supporting you. Your body should be straight, and your feet should be stacked on top of the other. This is a great way to strengthen your sides and spine. From here, you can do even more variations like raising your arm or leg.

Reverse Plank

Sit on the ground and extend your legs forward. Your arms should be at your side with your hands beside your hip, facing front. Next, raise your hips and torso as high as you can until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. If your shoulders aren’t as flexible, this may be a little difficult, so take it slow when raising your hips. In reverse plank, your lower back is worked better than in a standard plank.

Side Plank Crunch

Once you’re a little more advanced, you can add movement to your planks for an added workout. For this, start in a side plank position, but drop your hips as close to the floor as possible without losing your feet and arm position. Then raise your hips as high as you can to do one rep then switch sides. The tricky part is to try to avoid moving your hips forward or backward as you go up and down. If you want to make sure you’re going straight, you can do it with your back against the wall, so you can feel if your hips are moving out of alignment.

Walking Plank

With this plank, you can intensify your exercise by adding more upper body movement. Start by doing a standard plank position. Lower one arm so that your elbow and forearm are on the ground and then do it with the other arm. Put one hand on the ground to push yourself back up. Do it one arm at a time and keep your rhythm.

Plank Jacks

You start by doing a standard plank with your feet together. Next, hop your feet apart like when you’re doing jumping jacks, and hop them back together to do one rep. It’s best to put some distance between your feet when it’s spread out to really work your muscles. Your body and arms should be steady throughout the exercise.

Doing the same thing all the time is no fun or good for your workout. Trying out different kinds of planks can push your body to the limits and give your workout an extra something.