Short on time? Don’t skip the strength-training session — get playful with the plank! By doing multitasking variations of this basic move, you can target your arms, back, core, legs, and booty to chisel out a stronger, more toned you.
Take your jumping jacks to the floor for this plank variation that not only works your arms, core, and lower body, it’ll also get your heart pumping.
- Begin in plank position with your feet together. Keep your upper body stable and engage your abs.
- Begin doing jumping jacks with your legs. Hop them wide, then hop them together. Jump as quickly as you want.
- Do a total of 30 jumping jacks, which counts as one set. Then complete two more sets.
This exercise might remind you of the quadruped (a crunchless ab exercise) on crack. It’s superhard, but the payoff is a stable torso.
- Start in a plank position. Cheat your right leg toward your center line, and lift your left leg off the ground so your heel is even with your pelvis.
- Keeping your torso steady, reach your right arm forward. Really brace through the abs by pulling your navel to your spine. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
- Keeping your torso stable, bring your right elbow to your left knee under your body. Do not round your back or twist your spine, and keep your pelvis down. Then reach the arm and leg out and away from each other. This counts as one rep.
- Do three sets of five to seven reps on each side.
This is a killer move for your core, legs, and upper body. When holding elbow plank, be sure your shoulders are stacked over your elbows and your body is in one straight line.
- Start on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
- Step your feet out one at a time, coming into a plank position.
- Contract your abs to prevent your booty from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor, with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
- Hold 30 seconds, and work your way up to one minute as you get stronger.
Elbow plank is tough enough, but make it even more challenging by adding a booty-strengthening donkey kick.
- From elbow plank position, bend your right knee, flex your heel, and press your foot up toward the ceiling without moving your pelvis. Lower the bent leg slightly, and repeat for a total of 15 to 20 repetitions. Then switch sides. Do three sets on each leg.
Strengthen your arms, upper back, and core with this challenging exercise called up-down plank.
- Come into plank position with your arms and legs straight.
- Beginning with the right side first, lower your elbow to the floor where your hand was. Then lower your left elbow to the floor where your left hand was (now you are in elbow plank, with your forearms parallel).
- Then come back into the starting plank position onto your right hand and then back onto your left. This completes one rep.
- Perform 10 reps starting with your right elbow. Then reverse directions by bringing your left elbow down first for an additional 10 reps.
This variation of plank called side plank leg lift targets your shoulders, waist, abs, back, outer thighs, and glutes.
- Place your right elbow on the ground. Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line and you’re balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
- Flex both feet if you can, and either rest your top hand on your upper hip or extend it in the air. Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip. Then slowly lower it back to your bottom leg.
- Do three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.