Planks are the best. You can do them anywhere, and they work practically every muscle in your body (well, as long as you do them correctly). They're definitely one of the best exercises for your core, especially the transverse abdominals, which helps stabilize your spine and keep you upright. But hanging out in a simple pushup position for longer than 90 seconds can start to get boring. So...what can you do?
Shake it up! While a plank is a stationary exercise, there's no reason you can't switch up the basic position — and amp up the benefits. Sara Haley, celebrity trainer and founder of fitness and lifestyle brand The Daily Sweat, shared six updates on plain old plank with us. Check them out!
Take your feet to an unstable service, like a stability ball or Bosu or, even better, a Kettlebell. Put the ball of one foot on top of the Kettlebell, and put the ball of your other foot on top of your flexed other heel. The instability will require you to squeeze all your muscles tighter to stabilize, especially your butt and abs. Work to hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
Body Bar Plank
Balance a Body Bar on your back from your head to your toes. This not only adds weight to your plank, but will help you make sure that everything is perfectly aligned. If it's not, the body bar will not stay on your back. Work to hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.
Start in a normal plank position, then bring your right knee to the outside of your right elbow. Repeat on your left side. You can add a pushup in-between the Spiderman move on each side, or, for a more advanced version, push up as you Spiderman. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
Begin by reaching out one hand at a time, without letting your hips move. Then lift one leg off the floor at a time. Finish by reaching opposite arm then leg off the floor at the same time. Make sure the hips stay stable and the arm and leg move simultaneously. Hold each position for a count of two. Work for six to eight reps on each side.
Begin in a normal plank position and move hands and feet simultaneously clockwise until you've walked in a complete circle. Rest if needed and then walk counter-clockwise.
Army Crawl Plank
Begin in a normal plank position on your hands. Lower one forearm to the floor a time (right-left) and then crawl back up (right-left). Repeat again but lead with your left. Continue alternating for 10 reps total.