This quick plank workout is the perfect finisher to a full-body cardio session. It’s the perfect routine when you’re on vacation, or whenever you don’t have access to the gym.
For a tighter, stronger core, include this plank workout in your routine 1 or 2 times per week.
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You’ll want to make sure your core is warmed up and prepped before making it work under tension. So here’s a quick routine to ease you into the plank workout:
10 hollow body reaches
The goal: You should feel your muscles contracting as they heat up. This quick warm-up will help you fire up your ab muscles, which will protect you from injuring your lower back. It’ll also make these planks more effective at toning your abs.
The Plank Workout
To complete this workout:
- Perform 2 rounds of 10 reps per exercise (5 per side for exercises that alternate).
- Rest for 30 seconds between exercises.
- This workout is great at the end of a full-body workout. Or it can be used as a quick tummy-toner, any time you have 15 minutes to spare.
- As you become more advanced, try adding reps or shortening your rest periods.
- Every plank should be held tight, and create a straight line from your head to your heels. You might notice your core sagging, and you can’t hold it up. If so, rest for a bit or move onto the next step. Remember, doing planks with poor form isn’t beneficial. If you’re not able to hold the proper form, stop and take a recovery break.
Plank with Side Knee Raises | 5 reps per side
Start in a high-plank position on your hands and toes. Tighten up your abs and butt, so that your body forms a straight line.
Raise one knee up towards the shoulder on the same side, and feel your abs contract on that side. Return that leg back to the starting position, and switch sides.
Don’t shift the position of your shoulders. Maintain a solid form everywhere else, only moving your legs.
Alternate sides until you reach 10 total reps.
Upside-Down Plank Lifts | 10 reps
Lower your butt back down to the starting position, and repeat for 10 reps.
Sit on your butt, and stretch your legs out—straight in front of you. Lean back, and plant your hands underneath your shoulders. Then lift your butt off the floor until your body forms a straight line. To keep your neck in a neutral position, make sure to look up towards the ceiling.
Note: For an extra challenge, don’t rest your butt on the floor between reps.
Plank Army Crawl | 10 reps
(5 steps forward + 5 steps back = 1 rep)
Start in a low-plank position—on your toes and elbows. Make sure your butt is in line with your shoulders.
Take five steps forward on your forearms. At the same time, move your feet forward in small steps. Once you reach the fifth step, reverse and go five steps backward.
1 rep includes 5 steps forward and 5 steps backward.
Note: Maintain a strong plank the whole time. Aim to minimize hip-rocking.
Side-Plank Hip Dips (Right) | 10 reps
Start in a high side-plank position—with your other hand on your hip. Stack your feet, one on top of the other. Lower your hips down towards the ground (without touching the ground). Then raise back up into your straight-line side-plank position.
Perform 10 hip dips. Take your time, and exhale with each lift.
Note: If you have difficulty maintaining your balance, you can place one behind the other, instead of stacking your feet.
Side-Plank Hip Dips (Left) | 10 reps
Repeat Side-Plank Hip Dips on the left side.
All-4-Sides Plank | 10 reps
(4 sides = 1 rep)
Start in a high-plank position. Hold for one full breath, in and out.
Without coming out of your plank, roll into the side-plank position. Hold the side plank for one full breath, in and out.
Roll to the upside-down plank position, and again hold for one full breath.
Finally, do the plank on the other side, and hold for a full breath.
All four sides count as one rep. Take a short rest, then continue to rotate through all four—for 10 total reps.
Plank Water-Bottle Tap | 10 reps
(2 taps = 1 rep)
Start in a low-plank position with a water bottle 6” in front of you. Lift your right elbow off the floor, and tap the top of the water bottle.
Return back to the low plank. Lift your left elbow, and tap the top of the water bottle.
Aim to minimize rocking in the hips. Don’t rush the taps. A right tap and a left tap count as one rep. Beginners can take a short rest between reps, but advanced exercisers should continue on for all 10 reps—with no breaks.
(Your Next Workout: 12-Minute Indoor Cardio Workout)