Very few core workouts are complete without adding at least one or two plank variations into the routine. If you’re like most exercisers, you’ve already done your fair share of this foundational movement. “Planks offer a safe, challenging, and effective way to train both the core and many other muscles, including the shoulders, pectorals, biceps, triceps, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and more,” says Jennifer DeCurtins, a personal trainer, CrossFit coach, and yoga teacher based in Charlotte, NC. To make the plank even better, add in movement, balancing elements, and weights. “In my mind, a plank is anything that includes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees,” says DeCurtins, who put together 101 of her favorite variations of the move in her new book, Ultimate Plank Fitness. “Beyond that, you can think out of the box, since any time you’re holding a front, side, or reverse position you are working the core.”
We borrowed our favorite moves from DeCurtins to create a Hers 30-Day Plank Challenge. Do a different plank each day for the next month and you’ll not only notice a difference in how you move, but also amplify the rest of your routine—and you’ll never be at a loss for a full-body workout again. We suggest doing the planks in our series for one minute, but you can make it shorter or longer depending on your fitness level and experience.
Share your plank photos with us on social media by tagging #Hers30DayPlank on Twitter and Instagram.
Model: Melissa Le Man, WBFF Fitness Pro
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1. One-arm Full Plank
Begin in full plank position. Shift weight slightly to right side and place left hand behind back. Press firmly through right hand, keeping hips and shoulders square to floor. Hold 30 seconds; switch sides. (Here’s how to do a weighted plank.)
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2. Star Side Plank
Lie on right side, hips and legs stacked. Place right hand on floor below shoulder and lift hips. Bend left knee. Hold position (as shown) or straighten leg, grasping toes. Hold 30–60 seconds; switch sides.
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3. Plank Push and Pull
Begin in forearm plank with a weight plate in front of you. Push plate a few inches forward with right hand, then pull it back toward body. Continue for 30 seconds; switch hands and repeat, this time pushing and pulling with left hand.
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4. Mountain Climber Pushup
Begin in full plank. Draw right knee to right elbow while lowering into pushup. Press up and lower right leg to plank. Repeat on left side; continue for one minute.
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5. Frog Jump
Begin in full plank. Bend knees slightly and jump feet to the outside of your hands, coming into a deep squat. Jump back to full plank position, landing with elbows slightly bent. Repeat for one minute.
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6. Forearm Hip Abduction/Adduction
Begin in forearm plank with balls of feet on gliding discs. Slide feet out to wider than shoulder distance, then back toward each other. Continue for one minute
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7. Medicine Ball and Bosu
Get into full plank, with hands on either side of a medicine ball and toes at the center of a Bosu (ball side down to make it harder, ball side up to make it easier). Hold for one minute.
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8. Full Plank
Get into a full pushup position, palms on floor under shoulders and legs extended, forming a straight line from head to heels. Hold for one minute.
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9. Twisted Knee To Chest
From full plank position, lift left foot, drawing left knee toward right triceps. Return to start and repeat. This time drawing right knee toward left triceps. Continue for one minute.
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10. Side Plank
Lie on left side, hips stacked. Place left hand on floor under left shoulder. Lift hips, forming straight line from head to heels. Extend right arm above shoulder. Hold 30-60 seconds, switch sides.
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11. Forearm Plank
Lie facedown on floor, legs extended. Place forearms on floor, with elbows directly under shoulders. Lift hips, forming a straight line from head to heels. Hold for one minute.
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12. Balancing Plank
Being in full plank position. Lift right arm forward to shoulder height; at the same time, lift leg to hip height, keeping hips square to floor. Hold 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.
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13. Hip Dip
Lie on right side, hips and legs stacked. Place right forearm on floor perpendicular to body, right elbow under shoulder. Lift hips, forming straight line from head to heels as you raise left arm above shoulder (A). Dip hips down, touching hips briefly to floor; at the same time, bring left hand in front of body (B). Lift hips and left arm back to start and repeat. Continue for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.
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Get into a full plank. Bring right elbow to floor under shoulder, then left elbow to floor (so you’re now in a forearm plank). Then straighten right arm followed by left to return to full plank. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch the lead arm.
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15. Donkey Kick
Begin on all fours. Lift left foot, bending left knee 90° at hip height, foot flexed so heel faces ceiling. Press foot up a few inches, then lower back until knees are aligned. Continue for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.
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16. Tree Plank
Lie on left side, hips and legs stacked. Place left hand on floor below left shoulder. Lift body off floor, forming straight line from head to heels. Place sole of right foot on left thigh or shin. Hold 30-60 seconds; switch sides.
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17. Plank Jack
Begin in full plank, hands on floor under shoulders. Bring feet together to touch, then jump feet out to sides, as if doing a jumping jack with your lower body. Jump feet back together, keeping upper body as still as possible. Continue for one minute.
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18. Dolphin Plank Pushup
Being in a forearm plank. Walk feet as close to elbows as possible, lifting hips toward ceiling. This is your start. Lower chest and head in front of hands, then lift hips back to start. Repeat for one minute.
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19. Reverse Plank
Sit with legs extended in front of you, palms on floor under shoulders, fingers facing body. Pressing into palms and feet, lift hips, forming a straight line from shoulders to feet. Hold for one minute.
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20. Rolling Side Plank
Lie on right side, hips and legs stacked, right forearm on floor. Place left hand behind head, elbow out to side. Lift hips off floor. Slowly lower left elbow toward right hand. Return to start and repeat for 30 seconds; switch sides.
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21. Full Plank On Ball
Being in full plank but this time place both hands on either side of a stability ball, forming a straight line from head to heels. Keep abs tight while squeezing through your chest and quads. Hold for one minute.
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22. Med Ball Leg Lift
Being in full plank, this time placing palms on either side of a medicine ball. Keeping body straight and hips square to floor, lift leg to hip height, squeezing through chest and abs. Hold for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat.
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23. Stir The Pot
Get into a forearm plank on top of a stability ball, elbows on ball directly under shoulders. Perform a small stirring motion with your elbows, moving in small circles clockwise for 30 seconds, then counterclockwise for 30 seconds.
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24. Bosu Plank
Get into a full plank position, holding handles of a Bosu with the ball slide on the floor. Keep hands under shoulders and maintain a straight body position from head to heels. Hold one minute.
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25. Knee Tuck
Being in a full plank, legs extended with shins atop stability ball. Draw knees into chest, contracting abs; straighten legs back to start. Repeat for one minute.
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26. Rolling Med Ball Plank
Being in full plank, feet hip-distance or slightly wider apart. Place left hand on a medicine ball, keeping right hand on floor. Press ball from left hand to right then back to left. Continue for one minute.
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27. Dumbbell Punch
Being in a full plank position, hand on floor under shoulders, holding light-to-medium dumbbells. Keep feet wider than shoulder-width apart to help maintain support. Lift dumbbell up to shoulder height with your left hand, elbow out to side (A), then punch in front of you, knuckles facing ceiling and biceps near left ear (B). Lower and repeat for 30 seconds; then switch side and repeat with opposite arm for 30 seconds.
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28. Triceps Row/Kickback
Being in a full plank, hands on floor under shoulders holding light-to-medium dumbbells. Row left elbow toward ribs, then straighten arm behind you. Bend elbow and lower weight to floor. Continue for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.
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29. Gliding Disc Slide-Through
Sit on floor with legs extended, heels on center of two gliding discs. Place hands on floor next to body, directly under shoulders, fingers facing butt. Press into palms and feet to lift hips, forming a straight line from shoulders to feet (A). Dip hips down and pull your butt back between your hands (B). Then lift hips while pressing into palms to extend legs forward while lifting hips. Repeat for one minute.
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30. Bosu and Ball Plank
Get into full plank holding the edges of a Bosu with ball-side down and shins on top of a stability ball. Keep wrists under shoulders and abs tight. (To make it easier, bring stability ball closer to knees and thighs.) Hold for one minute.