Get the Basics...
  • Basic planks focus on the abs, lower back, and shoulders.
  • Other types of planks can also work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and obliques.
  • Experiment with new types of planks to engage and strengthen muscle groups that need attention.

Planks are a bodyweight exercise that require no equipment at all, which make them a no-stress, no-excuse way to pencil in a workout at home.

In their most basic form, planks work the abs (especially), the lower back, and the shoulders.

If you’re a regular “planker,” did you know there are other ways to do them? These different versions impact some body parts that a traditional plank doesn’t reach.

Before you learn more, let’s review the correct plank form. This video explains it well:

 
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#1 – Plank Hip Twist

The plank hip twist is fun because it involves movement. It works just like it sounds: Twist your hips from side to side. Because you’re not staying straight as a board, this exercise impacts the obliques more than the abs and the lower back. (Just make sure you keep your back level.) You may actually find this workout to be less tiresome than the usual plank.

 

#2 – Plank Glute Kickback

Give your glutes and hamstrings some attention with the plank glute kickback! It’s similar to a donkey kick in that you lift your legs straight up behind you (one at a time), but your knees aren’t bent. Lift your legs as high as you can without sinking your pelvis.

 

#3 – Side Plank

For stronger glutes, obliques, and abs, do a side plank. Lie down on your side, and lift yourself up with that arm while keeping your feet together. This one’s a balancing act! It will help to put your other hand on your hip. You don’t want your upper arm flailing.

 

#4 – Side Plank Star

Take things to expert level with the side plank star, which uses the abs, obliques, shoulders, and lower back. This workout incorporates both movement and balance while you prop up into a star formation. This video shows what’s up (literally):

 

#5 – Spiderman Plank

Activate your obliques, abs, quads, and glutes with the spiderman plank — another difficult (but totally possible!) plank. It’s almost like crawling in the air, with most of your weight on your hands. Take your time to find a rhythm and build your strength. You can do it!

 
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