43 Plank Variations for Insane Core Strength



Planks are a staple in the fitness industry. They are an excellent isometric exercise that is great at building core strength.


But lets be honest, planks can become boring over time. That is why it is a great idea to incorporate plank variations into your workout. Plank alternatives can add some challenge and variation to your workout.


In this article I will show you 43 plank variations, some of which make the planks easier, and some harder. This article also shows how to incorporate some basic equipment into a standard plank. I really enjoyed writing this article and hope you get some good use out of it!


*I will grade each exercise by difficulty level 1 very easy - level 5 very difficult*




1) Standard Plank

We start with the standard plank. Get into a prone (face down) position. Create a bridge with your body by supporting your weight on your forearms and toes. You can change the difficulty with the variations that I list below.

Difficulty Level- 2 out of 5



2) Modified Plank


Planks can be difficult especially for beginners. This is one of the few ways in this article where I'll show how to make a plank easier. If you can't do a plank try this.

Difficulty Level - 1 out of 5



3) Push-Up Plank


Just like the standard plank but this time you place your weight on your hands instead of your forearms. To perform get into a push-up position and hold it.

Difficulty Level - 2 out of 5



4) Bear Plank


If you struggle with keeping your hips from sagging during a regular plank try this alternative. It makes it easier to keep your core doing the majority of the work.

Difficulty Level - 1 out of 5



5) Extended Plank


One of the hardest alternatives to do on this list. What is even better is you can control the intensity of the exercise. See how far out you can go out with this advanced core exercise.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5



6) Body Saw


This time the goal of this exercise is to slide your body back and fourth on your arms in a good front plank position. Adding just this little bit of movement can increase the difficulty of a standard plank.

Difficulty Level - 3 out of 5



7) Plank Pike


The Plank Pike takes a good bit of hip mobility to perform properly. It is also an effective exercise that develops stability and strength throughout the entire core.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



8) Side Plank


By creating a bridge on the side of your body instead of the front the Side Plank is a great way to get the obliques involved.

Difficulty Level 2 out of 5



9) Slide Plank Crunch


Start in the same position as the side plank and drop your hips toward the ground. Contract your obliques and return to the start position.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



10) Plank Up-Downs


Planks up downs are performed by starting in a low plank position and using one arm at a time to finish in a high plank position. This is also a good exercise for those looking to add variety into their push-ups as well.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



11) Alternating Single Leg


This plank progression adds an element of instability. By lifting one leg off the ground you create a less stable surface causing the core to engage more.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



12) Alternating Single Arm


Similar to the single leg plank the single arm plank adds the element of instability. Alternate lifting your arms off the ground in a controlled manner.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



13) Superman Plank


This is one of the hardest exercises on the list. Start in a high plank position and lift opposite hand and opposite foot off the ground at the same time. Hold until balanced and return back to high plank position.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5



14) Side to Side


Adding movement to a plank like shown below is a great way to increase the difficulty of the exercise. In this variation start in a high plank position and move from one side to the other. You can perform reps or distance (example: 10 Meters)

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



15) Knee to Elbow

This exercise is a more difficult progression from a high plank. The exercise targets specifically the obliques, to build strength and increase stability. Start in a push-up position tighten your abs and bring one knee to the outside of your elbow then return back to the start.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



16) In-Outs


A great benefit to this variation is that you can control the intensity of the exercise. Make this exercise harder by reaching out as far as you can to each side.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



17) Plank Jaxs

This is what you get when you combine a plank and jumping jacks. By adding the jumping jacks movement you’re turning this exercise into a great cardio workout that elevates your heart rate and burns even more calories

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5




18) Mountain Climbers


This exercise should be one that a lot of people should be familiar with. It is a good way to add some cardio while performing your plank. This variation can also be made easier by performing it on a bench.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



19) Swiss Ball Low Plank


Adding the Swiss ball to your plank variations is a good way to make the plank much harder. It creates an unstable surface that makes your core have to engage even more. Need a Swiss Ball? Get the one that I use below on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/36tK6p1

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



20) Swiss Ball High Plank


This variation is just like the Swiss ball low plank expect you will perform the exercise in a push-up position instead. The swiss ball adds an element of instability making the exercise more difficult. If its hard for you to get up and down from the floor or maybe you just don't want to. Give this exercise a try.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



21) Swiss Ball High Plank On Wall


Not only can a swiss ball make a plank harder but it can also make it easier. By placing the ball against the wall it creates a more stable surface for you to do the plank. It is also great for those who have a hard time getting up and down from the floor.

Difficulty Level 1 out of 5



22) Swiss Ball Buzz Saw


Get set in a plank position on the swiss ball and then without losing control of hips "saw" arms back and forth. You can reach further to make more difficult.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5



23) Swiss Ball Plank Feet On Ball


Great way to make the high plank harder. Placing your feet on the ball shifts more of your weight into your hands. Using the swiss ball makes a unstable surface that creates more core engagement.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



24) Pot Stirrer


To perform this exercise get on the swiss ball in a low plank position. Next act as though you are stirring a big pot. Make sure to do both directions. Control the intensity by the size circles that you make.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



25) Swiss Ball Plank Pike


Another super difficult plank version much like the plank pike. Start with your feet on the swiss ball and hands on the floor in a push-up position. Next pike your hips up as high as you can then return to the starting position.

Difficulty 5 out of 5



26) Knee Taps


Swiss Ball Planks Knee Taps are one of my favorite exercises to do with my clients. Especially those who don't get a challenge from a standard swiss ball plank. But its not so hard that its impossibly hard. By alternating tapping the swiss ball with your knee you are making your base smaller but only for a short period of time.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5


27) Swiss Ball Rollout


One of my favorite exercises to use with my clients. Kneel behind ball with your elbows resting on the stability ball. Roll the ball forward on your elbows as far as you can without sagging your back. Return back to start.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



28) TRX High Plank


The TRX is a great piece of equipment that can be used with a many number of exercises. The plank is no different if you don't have a TRX I suggest the one that is in the video below. You can get yours from amazon here: https://amzn.to/2pCcaWy

Difficulty Level 2 out of 5



29) TRX Low Plank


The TRX similar to the swiss ball creates a unstable surface making the standard low plank a harder exercise. Try implements this plank variation into your routine!!

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5




30) Knee Tucks


Place your feet into the straps of the trx and get into a push-up position. then drive your knees into your chest and return to the starting If you don't have a TRX "knee tucks" can also be also done with the swiss ball.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5


31) TRX Pike


This variation is very advanced and not only takes good core strength but also good hip mobility and shoulder strength. The TRX makes this exercise easy to set up.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5



32) Plank With Cable Row


Rather than using the plank as a boring isometric exercise, add a cable row to engage more muscles—now, you’ll have a smaller base of support for more ab work while building strong, healthy shoulders.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



33)Side plank Cable Row


This plank variation is a good way to add some anti-rotation to your core routine. When you perform the rowing portion of this exercise you are pulled forward. You have to be super strong in your core to stay up right.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



34) Cable Press


Same as the plank with cable row this time with press. Doing a single arm plank is difficult add pressing movement and the exercise goes to the next level. Add weight to the exercise to change the intensity but keep in mind this movement is primarily a core exercise.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5





35) Plate Stack Pass


The plate stack pass is probably one of the most unique/creative plank variations on the list. While at the same time very challenging. Stack whatever number/weight of plates beside you and transfer that stack to the other side.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



36) Plate Push/Pull


I don't see this variation done that much but is a great way to mix up your core routine. The push/pull portion of the exercise work similar to a overhead press and lat pull down. The exercise also has a smaller base of support since it is performed with one arm.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



37) Reverse Plank


This variation is often times over looked. It doesn't work your core the way that a traditional plank does. But instead is a good complement to the traditional plank since it works the posterior muscles of the core.

Difficulty Level 2 out of 5



38) Hip Dips


In this exercise is a great intermediate plank variation. To perform get in to a low plank position and twist your torso so your hip slightly touches the ground and return to the plank position repeat on the other side.

Difficulty Level 3 out of 5



39) X-Plank


The X-Plank name is a little self explanatory. Start in a high plank position and move your arms and legs out until you make a "X" with your body. This is another difficult plank variation that should be done once you master some of the others on this list.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5



40) Plank Walkouts


Just like the extended plank but with this variation it will be more dynamic. With each rep try to challenge yourself to go out as far as you can.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5



41) Side Plank with Kettlebell


Incorporating a kettlebell or any weight into a plank exercise can be difficult but the following 3 exercise do it justice. The kettlebell side plank increases the difficulty by adding weight but with the arm extended it also creates some shoulder stabilization as well.

Difficulty Level 4 out of 5



42) Side Plank with Press


In the fitness industry it is hard to "create" new and different exercises. The industry is so saturated most things that can be done have been done. But I'm happy to say that this one is completely original to me. Try it out and let me know in comments what you think about it.

Difficulty Level - 5 out of 5



43) Kettlebell Pull Through


The last one on the list is a doozie. This variation has the in-stability factor along with anti rotation. By pulling the kettlebell along the floor your core must engage to keep your shoulders level with the ground.

Difficulty Level 5 out of 5


I really enjoyed creating this article and hope you enjoyed this article as well. If you know of a plank variation that isn't on this list let me know in the comments!!








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