Plank It ‘Til You Make It!

If you’re in search of an effective full-body tone that won’t interfere with your hectic daily life, look no further than the stupendous plank!

This exercise works both the upper and lower body, sculpting lean muscle – even hard-to-reach “problem regions” – in a super short amount of time. And, for those peeps, who can’t fit a gym membership into their schedule or budget, here’s more incentive: you can literally plank from anywhere, no fancy fitness equipment required!

So, shape on up with these 4 fat-torching variations on the classic plank. And you’ll be good to get on with your day in under 15 minutes.


Two-Point Plank

two-point plank 1

two-point plank 2

  • Areas It Targets: 
  1. Obliques
  2. Abdominals
  3. Glutes
  4. Quadriceps
  5. Hamstrings
  6. Biceps
  7. Triceps
  • How To Do It:
  1. Lower your body into a standard plank position (feet together, legs straightened, back flat and level, elbows locked, and hands shoulder-width apart).
  2. Shift your right leg slightly outward and lift your left leg off the ground until your heel is level with your pelvis.
  3. Tighten your torso and raise your right arm directly in front of you, then hold this position for 10 seconds.
  4. Tuck your navel deeper into your spine for balance, then pull your right elbow to meet your left knee underneath your body (avoid rounding back, lifting pelvis, or twisting spine).
  5. Push your right arm and left leg back outward and away from each other, then return to a standard plank position.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4, with your right leg and left arm.
  7. Do 3 sets of 5 reps, alternating sides.

Side-Twist Plank

side-twist plank 1

side-twist plank 2

  • Areas It Targets:
  1. Obliques
  2. Abdominals
  3. Shoulders
  4. Glutes
  5. Lower Back
  • How To Do It:
  1. Lower your body into a modified side plank position on your right side (right elbow bent and resting on the ground, feet stacked on top of each other, legs straightened, and core tightened).
  2. Support your weight on your right elbow and raise your left arm, bending at the elbow, and anchor your hand behind your head.
  3. Tuck your navel into your spine and rotate your left rib cage toward the ground, pulling your left arm down to meet your right arm.
  4. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return to a modified side plank position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on the right side of your body.
  6. Switch to the left side of your body, then repeat steps 2-4 with your right hand anchored behind your head.
  7. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on the left side of your body.

Reverse Leg-Lift Plank

reverse leg-lift plank

  • Areas It Targets:
  1. Abdominals
  2. Upper Back
  3. Lower Back
  4. Glutes
  5. Quadriceps
  6. Hamstrings
  • How To Do It:
  1. Start in a reverse plank position (hands behind the body, elbows locked, core facing up, legs straightened out in front, feet together, and back tightened).
  2. Keep your body in a straight diagonal line with your hips and glutes pressed as far from the ground as possible.
  3. Support your weight on your hands and lift your right leg with a slow, controlled movement until your foot is level with your chin.
  4. Point your toe and hold this position for 10 seconds, squeezing your quads and core for balance.
  5. Lower your right leg back to the ground and return to a reverse plank position.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5, with your left leg.
  7. Do 3 sets of 5 reps, alternating sides.

Up-Down Plank

up-down plank 1

up-down plank 2

  • Areas It Targets:
  1. Obliques
  2. Abdominals
  3. Upper Back
  4. Shoulders
  5. Biceps
  • How To Do It:
  1. Lower your body into a standard plank position (feet together, legs straightened, back flat and level, elbows locked, and hands shoulder-width apart).
  2. Lower your right elbow to the ground, followed by your left elbow, making sure both arms are parallel, so that you are now in modified plank position.
  3. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return to a standard plank position (while raising your body, keep core engaged and avoid twisting spine).
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 and do 3 sets of 5 reps, leading with your right elbow.
  5. Switch sides by lowering your left elbow to the ground first, followed by your right elbow.
  6. Repeat steps 2-3 and do 3 sets of 5 reps, leading with your left elbow.
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