Tone Your Core With These 5 Updated Plank Exercises

Sure having a slim and strong core looks great, but it also has loads of health benefits. Studies show strengthening your midsection can result in better balance, improved posture and less back pain. And one of the best ways to get that toned core is by doing planks. The classic exercise is done by holding yourself off the floor and resting your weight on your toes and forearms (or hands). The goal is to keep your body in a straight line from shoulders to feet and hold the position for as long as possible.

But if you’ve mastered that move (or just feel a little bored by it), there are lots of ways to change it up. In fact, adding variety to your plank routine will work different muscles in your core so you’ll see results faster. These five plank variations are a great place to start. For all of them, hold for between 30 seconds and two minutes (or as long as you can).

  1. Exercise Ball Modified Plank: Instead of placing your forearms on the floor, place them on top of an exercise ball. Engage your core and hold.
  2. Side Plank: This move targets your obliques (the muscles that run along your sides). Lie on your side, then push yourself up so you’re balancing on one forearm and the side of your bottom foot. Make sure you keep your body in a straight line and core engaged the entire time. Repeat on the other side.
  3. One-Armed Plank: From the classic plank position, lift one arm up straight out front of you, then around to the side and back out in front of you. The whole time, keep your core engaged and weight on the hand that is still planted on the ground. Repeat with other arm.
  4. Bosu Ball Plank: A Bosu ball is a half sphere you can use to make balancing in a plank even tougher. Turn the ball upside down (so that the flat surface is facing up) and perform a plank balancing your forearms on the Bosu ball.
  5. Lower-Body-on-Bosu Plank: Now place the Bosu ball under your feet (again, with the flat surface facing up). Hold a plank position with forearms on the ground and feet on the ball.

And planks aren’t the only way to strengthen your core! Make sure to try these four non-traditional exercises that will also help you get stronger and leaner abs.

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Photo credit: Rance Costa

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Read 4 Comments

  1. I am a Michigan Retired teacher, part of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System with Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage.
    Does this cover membership at the YMCA?

  2. Why no pictures? I hate it when people try to describe an an exercise and we have to decipher it when one picture would suffice.

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