5 Plank Variations

Whether you love to hate them or hate to love them, you can’t deny that the plank is an excellent way to train your mid section.

5 plank variations via treble in the kitchen blog

The plank focuses on isometrically strengthening the abdominal muscles.  While I love challenging myself to see how long I can hold a plank, it’s always fun to mix things up and try out new variations.  I have compiled five of my favorite plank variations for you to incorporate into your workouts to keep your body guessing and to keep your workouts fun and interesting!

***Keep in mind that if you ever feel any lower back pain or discomfort, you can take most plank variations and do them on your knees for another great option.

plank

1.  Traditional Forearm Plank

plank

How to do it:

Ok, so I just mentioned that I like to switch things up and try DIFFERENT types of the plank, but I couldn’t write a post about the plank and not mention the traditional version.  Place your feet hip distance apart, and lower onto your forearms.  Make sure that the shoulder blades are down and back (no rounding of the spine…something I struggle with!), abs are in and braced tight, elbows are right under your shoulders, head is in line with the spine, and you are lifting up through the quads.  While holding a plank, I like to go head to foot and think about all the muscles I should be activating and what the proper posture is.  This not only helps the time pass, but it helps me get more out of my workout!

2.  Shifting Forward and Back Plank

Shift forward and back plank

How to do it:

Start in your traditional plank position, and move your entire body as one unit back and forth.  While doing this make sure to keep that body in alignment.  That means, don’t pike your body and stick your booty in the air, and don’t round the shoulders.  Try to keep the chest open and push through the feet and the forearms.

3.  Get Up Get Down Plank

Get Up Get Down Plank

How to do it:

Start in traditional plank position. From traditional plank, push up into a high plank position one arm at a time.  While doing this, make sure your hips stay straight–if they start to wiggle go onto your knees for this one.  Once you are at the top in high plank, lower your forearms back down to the mat one arm at a time.  Make sure to alternate starting sides while completing this variation and you may want to have a mat, towel or pad under your arms as this one sometimes causes bruises!

4.  Plank Pull Through

Plank Pull Through

How to do it:

This is my absolute favorite plank variation.  You can use a kettlebell, dumbbells, or any other slightly weighted object it is easy for you to grab.  Set your weight to the Right side of your mat.  Begin in high plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and feet hip width apart.  With your Right hand, grab your weight and pull it through underneath your body to the other side of the mat, then repeat with the opposite side.  Make sure your hips don’t sway from side to side, and lower down to your knees if you need to.  This one takes a lot of strength and stability!

5.  Lifting One Arm, One Leg, or One Arm and One Leg

Plank with arm or leg lift

How to do it:

Find your traditional forearm plank position.  If you feel comfortable here, begin by lifting one leg off the ground.  When you lift that leg off the ground make sure that your body doesn’t dip to one side.  Keep everything centered.  If you are comfortable with one foot lifted, lower that foot back down and attempt to left one arm off the ground.  Again, make sure the body stays centered and doesn’t fall to one side.  If you are comfortable with three points of contact on the ground, then progress the exercise by lifting opposing arm and leg off the ground at the same time.  This really takes some work, so brace the mid section, press into the arm and the foot that is on the ground and extend through the fingers and the toes.  This is a challenging variation that is very rewarding when you get it right!

Let’s Chat!

  • What is your favorite plank variation?!

Comments

  1. Great post, super helpful! Planks are deceptively difficult to do properly

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