7 Abdominal Plank Exercises to Work the Whole Core
Abdominal plank exercises can be carried out at home, outdoors or wherever we feel comfortable. The aim is to strengthen the middle area of the body using your own weight. To achieve this, we’ll learn about different types of abdominal plank exercises that will help us to work the entire core.
Core means ‘center’, and, in this case, we’re talking about the core of the body. This is the area where the abdominal, lumbar, pelvic, gluteal and spinal muscles are found.
These are the muscles that give us stability. It’s important to work these regions to maintain a better posture, have better balance and avoid pain. Why don’t you try these different types of abdominal plank exercises!
Types of abdominal plank exercises to work the entire core
The abdominal plank is an isometric exercise. In other words, our body remains static, or at least that’s the goal.
It uses the strength of the whole body to maintain a rigid posture for a long period of time. In this way, all the muscles of the core area are worked.
On the other hand, we also have dynamic planks. In this case, you start with a rigid posture and add activity, either arms, legs or combined movements.
Read about more great exercises here: Isotonic and Isometric Exercises: The Differences and Benefits
1. Traditional plank
The traditional plank is performed in a prone position and you must maintain the posture for the appropriate time. Generally, start with 30-second sets.
The goal is to increase the time as the muscles get stronger and you begin to feel fitter. This exercise works all the muscles in the middle area: abs, back, chest, glutes and arms.
Let’s see how it’s done step by step:
- Firstly, lie on your stomach.
- Rest your forearms on the floor or mat.
- With your legs straight, place the tips of your toes on the floor.
- Keep your back straight, aligned with your shoulders and hips.
- Fix the posture and hold it for the stipulated time.
2. Reverse plank
This is the supine isometric plank. It means that we work statically as we lie on our back.
Glutes, arms and back muscles are strengthened. It’s performed as follows:
- Firstly, sit on the floor or on a mat.
- Lean backwards.
- The arms are stretched out and the hands rest on the floor and turn outwards.
- The pelvis is lifted so that the body is off the ground.
- The heels rest on the floor and the legs are stretched out.
- The head should be parallel to the rest of the body.
- Hold this position for the indicated time.
3. Side plank
Instead of lying face down, in this exercise, we’ll do it sideways. This exercise requires a greater use of strength and balance, since we’ll rest only one arm on the floor.
The challenge is to maintain that position as long as possible. It mainly works on strength and is ideal for strengthening the abdomen and legs.
This is how the traditional side plank is performed:
- First, get into the traditional plank position.
- Remove one hand from the floor and turn the body so that it’s on its side.
- Rest your left hand on the floor, raise your right hand so that it’s aligned with the supporting hand or vice versa. You can also bring that hand towards the waist.
- Place one foot on top of the other.
- The body should be aligned from head to toe.
- Then repeat the exercise, but on the other side of the body.
4. Down-dog pose
This position is widely used in yoga.
We position ourselves with arms and knees on the floor, on all fours. Then, we need to raise the hips to achieve this posture. This exercise helps to strengthen the back, shoulders, and abdomen:
- The hands should be resting on the floor and the arms stretched out.
- The feet remain on the floor.
- Raise your hips until your legs are fully straight.
- Hold the position for the target time.
5. Caterpillar walk
We bet the name has intrigued you! The initial posture is like in the down-dog, but, in this case, movement is added. First of all, you need to walk with your hands in front of you, almost until the body is in the position to do push-ups.
Your hands should then remain firm, supporting you as you take short steps with your feet until you reach the initial position.
6. Traditional dynamic plank
In the dynamic variant of the classic plank, we start with a fixed plank position, but then we add alternating arm movements. If the exercise involves is too difficult for you, you can rest your knees on the floor.
This type of abdominal plank, by varying the movements and positions, will make the exercise more interesting. Let’s look at it step by step:
- With straight arms, place your hands on the floor.
- Support the tips of your feet and keep your legs straight.
- Tighten your abdomen.
- Support the elbow of one hand and then the other.
- Return to original position, first with one hand and then with the other.
- Repeat the exercise the stipulated number of times.
7. Superman plank
In this intriguingly named exercise, you’ll work in the traditional abdominal plank position for a variation that will improve core stability. The objective is to lift one arm and the opposite leg at the same time.
In this way, the opposing limbs will remain as points of support on the floor. Then, return to the starting position and lift the opposite arm and leg.
This exercise is repeated as many times as you can to complete a series. The Superman plank is great for strengthening the spine and achieving better posture.
You may be interested in: 6 Exercises to Work your Obliques
Do the abdominal plank and strengthen your core!
So, we’ve told you about 7 different types of abdominal plank that you can perform in the comfort of your own home. Getting out of the house to do them is also a great idea if you choose a quiet place in natural surroundings. However, before you start, it’s always advisable to consult with specialists.
Taking time to do the workout and work the entire core will bring us multiple benefits. Muscles are strengthened, and you’ll achieve greater strength, coordination, flexibility and endurance. You’ll soon start to feel great as you practice these every day!
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Park DJ, Park SY. Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2019;32(5):797-802. doi: 10.3233/BMR-181122. PMID: 30856100. Disponible en: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30856100/
- Calatayud J, Casaña J, Martín F, Jakobsen MD, Colado JC, Gargallo P, Juesas Á, Muñoz V, Andersen LL. Trunk muscle activity during different variations of the supine plank exercise. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2017 Apr;28:54-58. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.01.011. Epub 2017 Jan 31. PMID: 28171779. Disponible en: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28171779/