5 Plank Variations To Strengthen Your Core

Work your core from every angle and get some results.


By Cori


You’ve probably been told countless times that planks are a great core move. But doing the same old plank hold over and over again can get extremely boring. Plus, over time, your body adapts to you doing the same old moves. So if you want continued results, you have to add in some variety.

That is why you should try some new plank variations. These 5 plank moves will work out your core from every angle. They will work your entire core, including your shoulders, back, glutes and obliques.

1. Spiderman Plank 

This is a great plank to work your entire core and really target those obliques and those quads. Plus the knee tucks will really get your heart beating as you hold.

To do the Spiderman Plank, set up in a forearm plank with your elbows under your shoulders and your body in a nice straight line down to your toes. Beginners can do this from their knees.

Bracing your core and keeping your body in a nice straight line, hold the plank as you tuck one knee up to the outside of the elbow on that side. Really crunch the knee in without letting your butt go up in the air or your hips sag. Feel the sides of your abs and your quads working to tuck the knee in as far as you can. Then extend the leg back out so that you are back in the plank position.

Tuck the other knee in and really crunch it in and feel your side work. Extend the leg back out and repeat on the first side. Keep alternating tucks, but don’t let your butt go up in the air or your hips sag. Also make sure your elbows stay under your shoulders.

2. Two-Way Knee Drive Plank 

Adding in knee drive are a great way to work your abs from different angles while also really working your quads. And when you add in a leg raise to knee drives, you can even work your glutes a bit more!

To do the Two-way Knee Drive Plank, set up in a high plank position from your hand and toes with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a nice straight line. Beginners can do this move from their knees.

Holding this plank position, raise one leg up off the ground. Don’t lift it super high and let your butt go up in the air. Really use your glute to lift it a few inches off the ground. Once that leg is lifted, do not let the foot touch down until all reps are complete and you switch sides.

Then crunch the knee of the raised leg in toward the same elbow. Try to touch your elbow without piking your butt up in the air. Do not tuck your chin as you draw the knee in. Pause for a second and then pull the knee across your body toward the opposite elbow. Do not extend the leg back out between knee drives. Simply use your core to rotate and crunch the knee in across your body.

Pause with the knee crunched toward the opposite elbow and then extend the leg straight back out so you are back in that starting position with the glute engaged and foot a few inches off the ground. Then repeat the move, tucking the knee straight in and then cross body.

3. Posterior Plank 

Your glutes and back are an important part of your core, which is why the Posterior Plank is an important plank variation to include. Plus this move will also stretch your chest and hips, which is important to do if you sit at a desk all day!

To do the Posterior Plank, start seated on the ground and place your hands on the ground behind your butt and your legs out straight in front of you. Make sure your feet are together and your fingertips are pointing toward your butt or out to the side.

Driving through your hands and heels, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips up off the ground toward the ceiling. Keep your legs straight as you bridge up and press your chest out.

Fully extend your hips and squeeze your glutes as you bridge up. Even relax your head back at the top. Make sure to press your chest out as well and even think about opening up your shoulders.

Keep your core engaged and squeeze your glutes as you pause for a second at the top. Do not hyperextend your low back to bridge up higher. Then lower down and repeat.

4. Side Plank Oblique Twists 

It is important to strengthen your core through every plane of motion, which is why it is great to include rotational plank variations. Since the rotational movement is done from the side plank position, you’ll really work your glutes, lats and obliques as well.

To do Side Plank Oblique Twists, set up in a side plank from your forearm with your elbow right under your shoulder. Keep the elbow “stacked” under the shoulder so that your back and lat will help support your weight and your shoulder won’t be overburdened and your upper trap and neck won’t engage.

Then either stack your feet and lift up onto the side of your bottom foot or you can place the top foot in front on the ground and lift up onto the sides of both feet. Unstacking your feet will make it a bit easier to balance. Beginners can also do this from their knees.

In the side plank position, squeeze your glutes and keep your chest open toward the ceiling as you drive your bottom hip up. Place your top hand behind your head or neck so your elbow is up toward the ceiling.

Then, keeping your bottom hip up, rotate your top elbow down toward the ground and back toward your armpit. Keep your hips up as you rotate. Really feel your entire core twisting as you rotate the elbow down. Don’t just flap your arm or let your butt go way up in the air. You want your chest to actually rotate toward the ground so that you feel your core and back working to twist.

Then rotate back open and repeat. Move slowly to stay balanced and feel your body working to stabilize as you twist. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

5. Plank with Oblique Knee Tucks 

If you want to work your entire core and build great strength and stability, then you need to try this move. However, this more requires a lot of strength to stay balanced as you rotate from side to side so start by moving slow or even by regressing it down to your knees.

To do the Plank with Oblique Knee Tucks, set up in a forearm front plank with your body in a nice straight line down to your heels. Make sure to stack your elbows under your shoulders and engage your back.

Then from this front plank position, rotate into a side plank from your forearm. Do not go down as you rotate. Simply shift onto one elbow and stack your feet as you rotate your chest open and keep your bottom hip up.

Once in the side plank, reach your top hand up and over your head toward the wall behind you. As you reach the top arm out, lift your top leg up. Then crunch your top elbow and knee together while staying balanced and keep your bottom hip up in that side plank.

Extend your arm and leg back out and then rotate back forward into a front plank before switching to the other side. Keep alternating sides until all reps are complete. Do not let your butt go up in the air or your hips sag. Move slowly to stay balanced or even regress the move to your knees.

If you are looking to mix things up even more, try these other 15 Plank Variations or these 20 variations:


Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.