PLANKING IS HANDS down one of the best ways to put your core to the test. Unfortunately, planking can also quickly become one of the most boring ways to put your core to the test.
With a series of quick tweaks, though, you can transform the humble plank into a whole array of new muscular challenges to finally build those six-pack abs you’ve been after.
Also known as “pushup position.”
Like a standard plank, except supported on your forearms.
Puts your torso off-balance, forcing your core to work harder.
A great way to reveal strength imbalances across your core and challenge your glutes.
Challenges not only your abs but also your obliques and your shoulders.
Taxing for total-body strength and balance, especially in your shoulders.
Adds an upper-body workout to the standard plank. (Focus on keeping your body still—don’t rock back and forth.)
Targets shoulders and back, along with core, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Also an excellent way to practice the planche plank.
Helps improve flexibility in the hips, and stability in the core and upper body.
An ultra-tough variation on the standard plank. See how long you can hold it, and how far out you can span your arms and legs.
Hits the abs like a roll-out while testing your hip flexibility. Try not to bend your back too far forward.
A slightly less difficult variation on the planche, a classic gymnastics move and test of isometric total-body strength. Excellent for testing shoulder mobility and upper-body strength.