Looking to Chisel Your Core? Try these 5 Plank Variations

Grace Kim from Lean Girls Club says the plank is one of the best exercises for your midsection because it targets all the muscles in your core.  She also points out that the plank isn’t just great for your abdominals – it also helps tone your legs, butt and arms!  Grace tries to do planks every night, and says that this exercise has really helped to improve her running in addition to giving her a toned body.  Try her favorite plank variations for total body toning.

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The Elbow Plank

To perform this exercise, get face down on the floor.  Lift, extending your body into a straight line, keeping your toes and forearms on the floor.  Most of your weight should be in your elbows to really challenge your core.  Grace likes the elbow plank over a traditional plank because it helps keep stress off your wrists.

The Up-Down Plank

For this plank, start in a traditional plank position.  One arm at a time, lower yourself down into a forearm plank and then back to traditional plank again, and repeat. Grace loves this because she’s able to move instead of having to stay in a single position!  The up-down plank is an excellent arm toner as well as great for your abs.

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Side Plank

To get into a side plank, lie on your side with your legs straight.  Prop yourself up using your bottom hand, wrist directly under the shoulder.  Lift your hips up so your body forms a straight line, and hold.  Repeat on both sides. Grace imagines her muffin top going away with each rep, as this plank really targets the obliques!

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Plank Row

To begin, get into a standard plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Lifting your elbow, move one arm in a rowing position and then back to start.  Repeat on the other arm.  Grace loves this move because it works the arms, shoulders and back just as much as the core.

BOSU Plank + Side Crunch

Grace loves using the BOSU ball because it adds the extra challenge of needing to keep yourself balanced.  She also says this compound move helps to cut down on gym time.  To do this move, lie on your side with your hips over the BOSU ball.  Exhaling, crunch your side, moving your upper body toward your hip.  Repeat on both sides.

 

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