5 of the Most Effective Plank Variations for a Killer Workout

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Planks are a great workout you can do anywhere to strengthen your core, improve posture and balance, improve flexibility, and reduce back pain. On days where you can’t make it to the gym or would rather do a home workout, these five plank variations will keep you in shape.

1. Elbow Plank

This is one of the more challenging plank variations. In fact, you may find it is harder than a “pushup position” plank. Just follow these steps:

  • Start by laying on your stomach with your forearms placed down.
  • Push yourself up and rest your weight mainly on your forearms while focusing on tightening your core.
  • Hold for as long as possible.

2. Side Plank

This is one of the best plank variations to strengthen your obliques. Here’s how to do the side plank safely:

  • Start by laying on your side with your legs extended straight out.
  • Push yourself up using one arm, fully lengthened.
  • Hold this position for as long as four minutes if you are able to.
  • You can do the same exercise on the opposite side.

3. Shoulder Tap Plank

This is one of the best plank variations to work your shoulders, arm, and chest. To get started:

  • Put yourself in the push-up position and make sure that your shoulders are aligned with your hips.
  • Begin by using your right hand to touch your left shoulder and placing it back down on the floor.
  • Then use your left hand to touch your right shoulder.
  • Continue to alternate between arms.

4. Plank Twist

Begin this plank variation in a push-up position, and then:

  • Bring your left knee inward and touch it to your right elbow.
  • Next, bring your right knee to your left elbow.
  • Make sure you twist your body in the direction your knee is going.

5. Plank with Limb Extension

Begin this plank variation in a push-up position and then:

  • Stretch your right arm out in front of you and lift your left leg up off of the ground.
  • Hold both limbs up as long as you can.
  • Next stretch your left arm out in front of you and lift your right leg up off of the ground.
  • To make this more challenging, you can alternate a weight in the arm you are lifting off the ground.

These plank variations will expand your workouts and help tone you faster. Try all five and in a few weeks, you may see a big difference. Being consistent is the key with these plank exercises. But the best thing is, you can do these anytime and anywhere, even in the winter.