7 Plank Variations to Strengthen and Stabilize Your Core

Shane Barnard, JD
by Shane Barnard, JD
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7 Plank Variations to Strengthen and Stabilize Your Core

Let’s spice up your core routine with fun and challenging variations on an old-school favorite: the plank. These progressions add more instability, therefore requiring more muscle control to maintain proper technique and form. Take each option at your own pace, and have fun. This video will show you how to perform:

1. Forearm Plank
Start in a plank on your knees or toes; your elbows should be positioned below your shoulders. Keep pulling your belly button toward your spine, and squeeze your glutes to provide some posterior support.

2. Plank Knee Tap
Start in a plank position on your knees or toes. Tap 1 knee lightly on the ground, then tap the opposite knee lightly on the ground. Keep alternating knees. Start with a single knee tap before your try double knee. Maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the movement.

3. Plank with Toe Tap/Hip Abduction
Start in a plank position on your knees or toes. Lift 1 leg out to the side, and tap your toe on the floor. Keep your spine neutral and 1 leg stable as you move 1 leg at a time. Switch to the other leg.

4. Plank with Hip Dip
Start in a plank position on your knees or toes. Add some rotation and oblique work by dipping 1 hip at a time toward the floor. Keep the twisting motion slow and controlled.

5. Side Plank
Position your elbow below your shoulder, and keep your side body lifted. Put a knee down, or cross your legs for more stability. For an increased challenge, stack your legs or lift your top leg and hold.

6. Long Plank
Place your hands below your shoulders, and start on your knees or toes. Keep pulling your belly button toward your spine, and squeeze your glutes to provide some posterior support. From here, scoot your toes back so your shoulders are now behind your hands. This position requires more shoulder stability and work through your abdominal wall to maintain a neutral spine.

7. Bird-Dog Plank
Start in a plank position on your toes. Activate your glutes to lift 1 leg off the floor, then switch sides. Keep your legs still as your reach 1 arm forward, then switch to the other arm. For an additional challenge, lift your right leg off the floor and your left arm off the floor simultaneously. Don’t forget to switch sides and breathe.

About the Author

Shane Barnard, JD
Shane Barnard, JD

Shane is NASM, ACE, AFAA and USATF certified and the creator and founder of the Urbankick format and instructor certifications, co-founder of Urbanplay, a non-profit health and fitness education program for youth, and a business partner at Studio360. With over 20 years of fitness experience, she is a nationally recognized presenter and currently teaches at Crunch, Fitness SF, and the University of California at Berkeley, where she is a health coach. Shane is a CEC provider for ACE and AFFA and an honored ambassador for lululemon. You can work out with Shane and Urbankick anytime, anywhere at BooyaFitness.com.
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