Share on Facebook

These 4 Easy Plank Exercises Will Transform Your Abs

Strengthen your entire core while building stability through these step-by-step plank exercises by Patrick Streit, a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Young woman practicing yoga, doing Vasisthasana exercise, Side Plank pose, working out, wearing sportswear, black pants and top, indoor full length, gray wall in yoga studiofizkes/Shutterstock

Best plank exercises for abs

Core workouts are a great way to keep your abs strong. Enter: Planks. They engage a lot of muscles in the body (aside from the abs), including strengthening the back and shoulders. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate when it comes to working out, there are easy core exercises you can do that can help maximize your results to get your dream set of abs.

Patrick Striet, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, owner at Live Fit Cincinnati LLC, and author of 60 Second Sweat, shows us how to effectively engage your muscles with these step-by-step ab workouts.

01-plank-plank-exercises-subtly-transform-absMichael Bambino & Co.

Plank

  1. Assume a plank position, resting on your elbows, with the balls of your feet about shoulder width apart. Your elbows should be directly underneath your shoulders, your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back. Tighten your rear end and abdominals and the front of the thighs.
  2. Hold this position for the suggested amount of time. Do not allow your lower back to sag.

What it does: This plank exercise strengthens the entire core. (Find out more tips to get better abs without crunches.)

Form tip: To intensify this exercise, narrow your base of support by moving your feet closer together.

You can also get full-body, mix-and-match workouts to help you burn fat, tone muscle, and reboot your body in my book..

02-plank-walkup-plank-exercises-subtly-transform-absMichael Bambino & Co.

Plank walk-up

  1. Assume a plank position, resting on your elbows, with the balls of your feet about shoulder width apart. Your elbows should be directly underneath your shoulders, your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back. Tighten your rear end, abdominals, and the front of the thighs.
  2. Plant your right hand on the ground and push up, then do the same with your left hand, to walk up and onto your hands.
  3. Reverse the movement going back down, moving onto one elbow at a time. Repeat for the suggested number of reps, not allowing your lower back to sag.

What it does: This plank exercise strengthens the entire core and increases shoulder strength and stability.

Form tip: To intensify this plank exercise, bring your feet together and narrow your base of support.

(This is how long you need to hold a plank.)

03-long-lever-plank-exercises-subtly-transform-absMichael Bambino & Co.

Long lever plank

  1. Assume a plank position, resting on your elbows, with the balls of your feet about shoulder width apart. Your elbows should be a few inches in front of your shoulders, forming a longer lever than in a standard plank. Your back should be flat, and your neck should form a straight line with your back. Tighten your rear end, abdominals, and the front of the thighs.
  2. Hold this position for the suggested amount of time, not allowing your lower back to sag.

What it does: This plank exercise strengthens the entire core.

Form tip: To intensify this plank exercise, bring your feet together and narrow your base of support.

04-side-plank-exercises-subtly-transform-abs-aMichael Bambino & Co.

Side plank

  1. Lie on your left side with your left elbow propped up directly underneath your shoulder. Your legs should be straight and stacked on top of each other.
  2. Tightening your abs and the front of your thighs, lift your hips up and into the air. Your body should form a straight line.
  3. Hold this position, not allowing your hips to sag, for the suggested amount of time before switching sides.

What it does: Strengthens the entire core with an emphasis on the side abdominals.

Form tip: During this side plank exercise, make sure your top shoulder does not rotate forward, as this makes the exercise less effective for your side abdominals.

(These are the plank upgrades that will reshape your body.)

For more on HIIT and metabolic resistance training (MRT) to help you burn fat and build muscle in less time, learn more in my book.

Sources
  • Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: “Core Exercises That Incorporate Distal Trunk Muscles Maximize Primary Trunk Muscle Activation: 1692Board #225 June 1 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM”
  • Patrick Striet, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, owner at Live Fit Cincinnati LLC, and author of 60 Second Sweat