14 Plank Exercises for a Stronger Core


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  27 comments   :  204,312 Views

The plank, according  to many experts, is by far one of best exercises we can do to help strengthen our core--the muscles that support our back and abdomen. And because there are many different variations in performing  this exercise, they also help strengthen our hips and pelvic floor, as well as our shoulders and arms.

A strong core has been known to help provide us with better stability, better posture, as well as making us better and more efficient walkers and runners. In addition, a strong core helps us to performe every day activities with a little more ease.The plank has also been shown to help relieve back pain, just make sure though, that you have received medical clearance from your physician if you have had a history of back pain or back issues.

And because the plank does not require any fancy exercise equipment it can be done almost anywhere, at any time.  Just remember you want to keep your spine straight, you do not want your back to be arched, nor do you want your back to sag.

For those of you who have mastered what many refer to as the traditional plank, I have included some plank exercises that allow for a greater challenge, however, they can still be done at home with a stability ball, foam roller and dumbbells. And for those who haven't quite mastered the plank, I have included modified versions to help you move to your goal of doing so.
The Traditional Plank

Modified Plank

Up-Down Plank

Side Plank

Modified Side Plank

Star Side Plank

Side-Plank Flip

Side Plank on Ball

Side Plank with a Stability Ball

Transversus Abdominus: Horizontal Plank

Plank with Knee Touch

Reverse Plank

Reverse Plank with Leg Raise

Alternating Toe Touchdown- Fifth exercise from the top

Do you do planks? If so, which one(s) is your favorite? If not, which exercise would you like to master?

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  • 27
    Many visuals not avsilable. - 7/4/2017   2:50:22 PM
  • 26
    Many of the links don't work - article needs to be re-worked with new links that are active as of Oct 2016. Thanks.

    Up/Down Plank - http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L4oFJR
    - 11/1/2016   9:50:58 AM
  • MAGGIE33325
    The links still don't work... - 8/25/2016   7:42:16 AM
  • 24
    Links still don't work - 6/20/2016   12:51:31 AM
  • 23
    Where are the exercises? All I saw were pictures of the author posing in skimpy clothes. Waste of time. - 6/5/2016   8:04:21 AM
  • 22
    like others said not all the links work. i will try the reverse with leg lift very interesting - 11/14/2015   11:30:01 PM
  • 21
    yeah, the old links are now dead - it would be great if you could update this list of plank exercises with Spark links. - 7/4/2015   2:46:43 PM
  • 20
    When I went to look at the traditional plank and a couple of other versions of the plank, all I am getting is an add or a website that does not show the exercise. Don't mind the add or the web site, but I what I wanted never showed up. Please fix the links to take us where we are suppose to go. - 4/25/2015   9:29:54 AM
  • 19
    The link I tried (up-down plank) doesn't work correctly--it goes Shape Magazine "Healthy Holiday Boozing Tips—from Your Bartender" - 12/26/2014   6:33:18 PM
    Are my arms and legs supposed to shake? I'm not sure I'm doing it correctly. - 5/20/2014   9:02:51 PM
    Just an FYI--there were a few links that were dead under this article as of 10/26/13: The up-down plank, the star-side plank, the side plank with stability ball (though the one above--side plank on ball, is ok), and plank with knee touch. - 10/26/2013   10:01:41 PM
  • 16
    The Star Side Plank looks awesome! I probably would NOT try the Side Plank w/ a Stability Ball, though, as I'm somewhat of a clutz and that looks like a major accident waiting to happen.

    A note of caution on the Up-Down Plank: make sure your box or step, or whatever you're using, is secure and won't slide around. - 11/6/2011   12:15:21 AM
  • 15
    I don't know about you're neck of the woods, but up here in central Ontario, Canada, "planking" is the new in thing. Kids (including my grandson, age 14) plank on objects like a letter box, statue, handrail, get their photo taken and then paste it on a social network site, like facebook. I kindle this interest and don't tell him it's good exercise! - 11/3/2011   12:11:47 PM
  • 14
    Your arguments for doing the Plank in its various forms are very persuasive - will definitely be giving it a try. Thanks for posting. - 11/3/2011   11:48:39 AM
  • 13
    I am not a fan of planks but I know they're super effective, so I'll be saving this list for future reference.

    There was one where the gal had her feet spread about 2 foot apart. What benefit does spreading the feet produce? - 11/3/2011   11:38:44 AM
  • 12
    i hate doing planks, but i do them anyway:) right now i've been doing the modified plank because it's a part of my physical therapy routine. i plan on trying different variations. - 11/3/2011   7:14:49 AM
  • 11
    I love (and loath!) planks! Just a few months ago I couldn't even do one push up! After working on planks 2-3 times a week for a few months, I surprised myself by being able to do 10 in a row! Planks are great! - 11/2/2011   1:27:17 PM
  • 10
    So where are the beginner ones??? I have tried to do a modified plank, but even that is too much for me right now, and even on my elbows, my stomach and chest are still on the floor. - 11/2/2011   11:44:26 AM
  • 9
    Great article! I've just started really doing planks through my yoga class and they really do give my core a workout! Thanks for the article! - 11/2/2011   9:20:19 AM
  • 8
    Thanks. - 11/2/2011   8:48:23 AM
  • 7
    Thanks for the list. I'd like to add this to my workout at least 2x week. - 11/2/2011   6:04:19 AM
  • 6
    I held a plank for 2 minutes 6 seconds today! I used to be able to only do it 15 seconds when I started! - 11/1/2011   6:32:46 PM
  • 5
    Thank you for sharing this list I love doing yoga & planks are AWESOME to do too. - 11/1/2011   4:55:55 PM
  • 4
    One of my favorite planks is the elbow-to-knee plank with the foam roller that is in the core moves list here on SparkPeople. After about two weeks of challenging myself with that exercise twice a week I always see muscle definition in my abs. - 11/1/2011   4:34:52 PM
  • 3
    I like incorporating planks into my core routine, and this list just gave me some new ideas! - 11/1/2011   4:12:23 PM
  • 2
    I find the modified plank much harder than the traditional plank. The other options look interesting. - 11/1/2011   3:03:19 PM
  • 1
    what a great list! I love doing the traditional plank in my 10 min yoga routine before bed, now I have some more ideas to switch it up! thanks! - 11/1/2011   2:42:32 PM

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