If you’ve already mastered the art of the plank, then try changing up your work routine with these fun, challenging, and super sweaty plank variations! These are great for strengthening your pectorals, or your chest muscles.
Try these out the next time you show up on your mat or at the gym:
1. Plank Shoulder Taps
While in your plank, bring your right hand to tap the front of your left shoulder and lower it back down. Then, bring your left hand to tap the front of your right shoulder and lower it back down. Keep repeating, until you’ve completed eight reps per side.
Practicing your shoulder taps will challenge your entire core, so you’ll definitely feel yourself shake and wobble. To make this exercise easier, you can widen out the stance of your legs and bring your feet mat-width apart. A wider base will help your core stabilize.
2. Forearm Plank Reach
Lower down onto your forearms, engage your core, and straighten your legs back behind you. Once you’ve settled into your forearm plank, reach your right arm forward and pause for 2 seconds. Then, bring your right arm back to its original point. Reach your left arm forward and pause with the arm extended. Then, bring it back to the center.
As you practice your forearm plank reach for eight more reps, you may feel your hips shift to the opposite side. Keep your legs wide apart but continue to squeeze the inner thighs and reach the heels of your feet back.
3. Side Plank Star
This side plank variation will really work your hips. In your side plank, draw your navel in and lift the top leg up. Hold for breath, then lower it back down again. If you want to add an extra challenge, bring the top knee and top elbow together and do a side crunch.
Remember that being mindful of your breath is just as important as performing your reps! Try to exhale when you lift the leg, and inhale when you lower.
4. Plank Ladder
This has got to be one of the most challenging variations of plank. From your high plank, lower one forearm down followed by the other. Try not to move the hips around so much, and keep the belly drawing in and the abdominals tight.
Once you get to your high plank, squeeze your inner thighs and lower your forearms back down to your forearm plank. Take a breath in, then push yourself back up to your plank. Keep repeating, for eight reps or 45 seconds.
Try these plank variations and let us know what you think of them! Don’t forget to couple them with other ab, back, and glute exercises for a well-rounded core-strengthening workout.