Top 30 Thursday: 30 Plank Exercises To Shock Your Core {And Body}

Hello friends! Was anyone else effected by yesterday’s Comcast outage? Which is the reason for the late post today. No internet = no blogging 🙁

I know being a trainer I am suppose to love and worship planks, but guess what?

I don’t. You won’t see me kissing the ground they walk on.  I love them for what they are:

A killer core burner and body sculptor. Thought they just worked your core? Nope, not if you’re doing it correctly!

But they’re boring.

These two ladies are amazing at planking on their elbows for extended periods of time. Me on the other hand, I have to incorporate them into my workouts in other ways, or else after a sad 30 seconds I get bored and give up. Hence, needing these plank variations.

The plank can be used for so many different exercises, in fact, you can create an entire body workout staying on the ground! Check out the list, and my challenge to you (like with the burpees) is to try out at least 15 of these moves today or tomorrow.

Are you in? 

Let’s do this plank thing…

planking

30 Amazing Plank Exercises To Improve Your Love Of Planks

1. Elbow Plank (“Classic Plank”)

plank

The classic move and where you should start your planking journey.

  • Make sure to keep your tush down and head in a neutral or looking slightly forward position. Don’t drop the head to look down at your toes.
  • Keep the shoulders directly over the elbows or a little bit forward. But not behind as this drives your butt into the sky.
  • Squeeze the butt and thighs together to engage the muscles.
  • Breath!
  • Now hold it for as long as possible!

2. Top Of Push-up Plank

push up plank

  • Just like the plank above, but have arms pressed to extension as if getting ready to do a push-ups. 
  • Hands stay directly under shoulders.
  • For many, this is an easier variation to start with due to the slight incline of the body.

3. Side Plank

side plank

  • Rotate the body and like standard plank, keep the elbow directly under the body. 
  • Pull the hips up towards the sky.
  • Have the top arm placed either on hip or extended up.

4. Plank Jacks

plank jacks

  • Start in the classic plank position. 
  • Feet start together, then jump them a little wider than shoulder width apart and jump back to start.

5. Spidermans

spiderman planks

  • Start at the top of push-up position. 
  • With the foot flexed, bring the right knee towards the right elbow.
  • Leg is bent to 90-degrees with the hip rotating the foot out, away from the body.
  • While the leg is moving up, look back towards it to really feel the core work.
  • Repeat with the left side.

6. Plank Up-Downs (“Hell Raisers”) 

up downs

  • Start in the classic position and lift the right arm up, place the hand where your elbow was (right under the shoulder) and push up to the top of a push-up.
  • Lower back down, one elbow at a time and repeat with the other hand being the “lead” arm.

7. Side Plank Toe Touches

side plank toe touch

  • This is an amazing balance move. It will also work the core and shoulders. 
  • Start in elbow side plank and the hand right under your shoulder.
  • The top foot remains straight and kicks out and up while your top arm reaches to touch your toes.
  • Return to start and repeat until set is over. Then, move to the other side.

8. Side Plank Knee To Elbow

knee to elbow side plank

  • Similar to above as far as starting position. 
  • The top arm is place with hand on your head and elbow going towards the sky.
  • The top leg bends up towards the elbow.

9. Tom Cruise Plank (Mission Impossible Style)

tom cruise plank

  • Start in the top of a push-up position. 
  • Slowly widen your hands and feet as wide as possible.
  • Lower your body down towards the ground so it’s just hovering.
  • Hold it.

10. Plank Walks

plank walks

  • Start in push-up position and take a step to the side by moving both your hand and your leg.
  • Then move the other side to return to push-up position.
  • Repeat so you move down the floor.
  • Concentrate on keeping the butt down as it’s easy to let it climb up.

11. Plank Rows (Renegade Rows)

renegade row

  • Get in a push-up plank with dumbbells.
  • Keep the core tight as you row the weight up to the outside of your chest, elbow being pulled straight up.

12. Plank Lateral Jumps

lateral plank jumps

  • Start on elbows or top of a push-up (what’s best for you) 
  • Squeeze legs together and jump feet from side to side.
  • If you have a stepper, you can use it to jump over.

13. Plank Thrusters

thrusters

  • Push-up start position. 
  • Keep your shoulders in line above hands.
  • Jump your feet forward between your hands and back out to a tight plank.

14. 1-Legged Plank

1 legged plank

  • From the classic plank, lift one leg off the ground.
  • Hold for a count and lower to repeat on the other side.

15. 1-Arm Plank

1 arm plank

  • From the classic plank, lift one arm off the ground.
  • Have it extended along side of the body.

16. Bird Dog Plank

bird dog plank

  • A combination of both #15 and #16.
  • Keep the hips square and have your eyes fixed on something for balance.

17.  Wall Plank

wall plank

This is perhaps my favorite!

  • Place the hands on the ground, and slowly walk your feet up a wall. 
  • Stop once your body is completely straight from shoulders to walls (at a 90-degree angle with the wall)

18. Plank Hip Twisters

hip twister planks

  • Start in classic position. Rotate the hips.
  • Tap a hip on the ground along your center line.
  • Return to plank start and repeat other side.

19. Stability Ball Plank

stability ball plank

  • Place your elbows on a stability ball, make sure they are directly under your shoulders.
  • Push through your shoulders to maintain proper former.

20. Plank Leg Raises

plank leg raises

  • A variation of the 1-legged plank.
  • Start in classic plank, keep your leg straight and foot flexed as you lift it off the ground.
  • Lower it to tap your toe and quickly pull it back up.
  • Complete all reps on one side before switching to the next.

21. Plank Rainbows

Plank rainbows

  • Grab a very light dumbbell.
  • Start in classic side plank, extend one arm out to the side, straight (but not locked) holding the weight.
  • Raise the weight so that it straight towards sky.
  • Complete all reps on one side before switching to the next.

22. Reverse Plank

reverse plank

  • Start by sitting on your butt, legs extended out in front and hands placed on either side of your tush.
  • Lift your hips, squeeze your butt, and open your chest.

23. Plank Rocks

rocker planks

  • Push through your toes to drive your shoulders forward and back.
  • Make sure to keep a tight core to avoid arching the back.

24. Mt Climbers

Mt Climbers

  • Start top of push-up position.
  • Keep the shoulders over hands and drive the knees in to your chest as quickly as possible.
  • It’s easy to let the butt creep up, don’t let it!

25. Plank Toe Taps

  • Start in classic position.
  • Keep the legs straight and reach the right foot out and back to start.
  • Complete all on one side before moving to the other.

26. Rotating Mt Climbers

cross over mt climbers

  • Start like normal mt climbers.
  • Instead of knees straight in, drive them in a rotational manner. Right knee to left armpit; left knee to right armpit.

27. Floor Bridge

floor bridge

  • A great plank reverse move.
  • Keep the heels on the ground and under the knees.

28. SB Reverse Plank

  • Great balance and minimal stress.

29. SB Decline Plank

  • Classic plank with extra balance.
  • Keep hips align in good form.

30. Push-Ups!

  • How can I talk planks without doing the ULTIMATE plank exercise?
  • And how could I not snap a picture!? Because if you need help with push-up form, please check out this Push-Up Progression program to help!

What do you think? If you’re in for the challenge, for the planks that include reps… aim for 25 reps. For planks that are meant to be held, aim to hold for 30-60 seconds.

Did you get value from this post? Check out these other exercise variations posts:

Q: What’s your favorite plank? 

Take the plank challenge and if you like this please “Share” it with either Twitter or Facebook! I would really appreciate it 🙂

Comments:

  • MIZ

    um wow?

    MY CORE BE SHOCKED AND I BE SHARING 🙂

  • that’s awesome you have videos for each one!!!

    • Haha, yes, my husband is pretty talented! I wouldn’t know how to do it myself.

  • Awesome round up… this is such a great resource! I get stuck on the boring planks and side planks, so I definitely need to mix it up.

  • This is a pretty awesome post and I’m going to share this! Planking is a great full body workout. I don’t like planks either but I seem to be good at them (along with burpees. I blame low body weight on this!). I won a contest at East Shore for holding a plank the longest and even though it’s an “ab”exercise to most people, my quads hurt more than anything else. It really is full body!

    I bet you were super sore after doing all of these demonstrations too!

    See you at the next speedwork we do, that was so fun Tuesday!

    • Congrats on the plank hold! My legs get tired too!
      Definitely see you at the next speed workout, I look forward to them each time.

  • Holy cow. Some of these look evil!! haha. But awesome at the same time. I do a bunch of these but can’t wait to try to try the others!

    • Let me know what you think! Enjoy 🙂

  • I love planks, but holy wow–I had no idea there were so many variations. I’m ready to jump in!

    • Yay! Give them a go and let me know what you think

  • Kim

    As always – love these!!! I’ve done a lot of those but a couple (Mission Impossible) are new to me and I can’t wait to give them a try. I spent quite a bit of time doing reverse plank stuff earlier today as part of my workout – brutal!!
    I just tried a new plank move this morning that I’m going to make one of my daily 43s soon (maybe tomorrow).
    Thanks for this awesome plank list!!!

    • You’re welcome! Can’t wait to see what you did as your daily!

  • OMG great post! Will be sharing-lots!

  • oh love it!! and thanks sweetie for the link love 🙂
    we need to try those Tom Cruise planks 😉

    • Of course! give those a try, they are so hard!

  • Debbie B

    Renegade Rows and Plank Rainbows are killers! Favorites!
    Taylor, you have the best posts! Thanks!!!

    • Yes they are! I love rainbows. Thanks Debbie! 🙂

  • Rebecca

    Whoa…THANK YOU for this! I love the what planks do, but I get so. bored. after 30 seconds of each. These doable (ok, MOST of them seem doable!) but still a great challenge with lots of room for improvement.

    THANK YOU! Excited to try these!

    • Glad you liked them! Enjoy 🙂

  • Rebecca

    Also, thank you for including gifs/video clips of each one instead of just “step-by-step” pictures. This is extremely helpful! 🙂

  • Karen G

    I love planks and this gives me some great new ideas. Thanks!

  • Eli

    Wow! These look tough! I do “butt ups” with my clients which is a killer! i’ve not seen some of these before – i will definitely be adding some of these to my workouts as I also get bored!! 😀

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  • Humaira

    Heyy.. thats realyy nice …
    but i m a beginner … i dunt know its good for …? of which body part… abs.. ? only…

    • Planks are great for beginners! Yes, they are targeted towards your core however many of these variations will hit your entire body. Just watch the gifs carefully and read the tips before getting started. Then give them a go!

  • This post is pretty awesome. Will try all of them right away! Great job Taylor!

  • Harri

    Squats and Deadlifts will do much more for your core strength than endless planking.

  • celeste

    Hell Raisers, plank jacks, mountain climbers! love them!

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  • These plank exercises are awesome! I’m going to try to do a different one for each day of the month.

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  • Amazing!!! I’ve tried a few of these and now I have many more to try! Thank you!

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  • wonderful information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend nandu , hyderabad,i have read atleast 7 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your website gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i’m already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a ton once again, Regards, tom cruise workout plan

  • mark

    Try “plank rocks” on ball forward and back then side to side then circles. Then make the alphabet then write your man a love note with the letters you can form.

    • Dan

      Your right mark. We totally forgot to make that one. Next time though!

  • berridgeab

    Thanks for the post and your time creating the gifs to go with it.

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  • leslie

    These plank workouts are epic, thanks for sharing. You really learn to appreciate (1) minute after doing a plank for (1) minute…… awesome

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