I'll admit, I sometimes sigh when an instructor cues up a plank. I know, they will *always* burn. Planks are a classic core move for a reason and offer so many benefits.
“Planks target and strengthen the core muscles, including transverses abdominals (the deepest abs muscles), rectus abdominis, and the internal and external obliques, so in simplest forms, a simple plank will fire up all of your core muscles,” says Jade Morning, CPT, a certified personal trainer and Alo Moves instructor.
But planks are also kind of, well, boring. Holding a plank for 30 to 60 seconds means I have nothing but the floor to distract me from that deep burn quaking up through my whole bod. The burn is a good thing; the boredom is not. The good news, though, is that there are tons of plank variations to spice things up depending on your skill level and core strength.
Plank variations don't just target the core, either. Many will also strengthen other muscles, like your quads and glutes, and can reduce back pain, improve posture, and increase balance, she explains. To maximize your gains, Morning suggests incorporating plank variations into your weekly workout routine *at least* three times a week. “I recommend finishing each workout with core activation, so doing a plank challenge before heading out of the gym would be ideal.”
Once you’ve nailed proper plank form, it’s time to have some fun to the tune of the 30 best plank variations.
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