Most of the time, in fitness classes, instructors teach the classic version of the plank with forearm or straight arm support. This static exercise is believed to improve endurance and help strengthen abdominal muscles.

But it turns out that the plank has dozens of variations that get almost your entire body working: your back, butt, thighs, calves, shoulders, and core muscles. And this workout can also be quite dynamic.

Bright Side checked all kinds of exercise manuals to find the most effective plank types that will help you get the most out of your workouts.

Combine the types according to your fitness level, devoting between 15 and 30 seconds to each exercise and gradually increasing the time up to 2 minutes.

  1. Alternate the classic plank with the forearm plank

In this version of the plank, the biceps, back muscles and abdominal muscles work.

_ Starting position: plank on the elbows.
_ Take your right forearm off the floor and place the palm of that hand where your elbow was (just below your shoulder). Do the same with the left forearm.
_ Go up to the maximum and return to the initial position.

  1. Side plank, touching foot

This exercise involves the muscles of the shoulder girdle and thighs.

_ Initial position: side plank, leaning on the forearm, the other hand stretched upwards.
_ Stretch and lift the upper leg, trying to touch the foot with the hand.

  1. Side plank, touching the knee

In addition to the muscles involved in the previous exercise, the buttocks are also involved.

_ Initial position: side plank.
_ Place the upper arm behind the head, the elbow bent towards the ceiling.
_ Direct the knee of the leg that is on top towards the elbow.

  1. Tom Cruise board

This variant of the plank trains the muscles of the whole body: shoulders and forearms, calves, thighs and abdominals.

_ Starting position: classic plank.
_ Slowly move your hands and legs as wide as possible.
_ Lower your body as much as possible without touching the ground.

  1. Lateral movements, from the classic plank

The exercise works the back and shoulder muscles.

_ Starting position: classic plank.
_ Take a side step with the same hand and foot, then move the other hand and foot to the same side.
_ Return to the initial position. Make sure your butt doesn’t lift.

  1. Lateral jumps, from the classic plank

This plank exercise works the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, calves, as well as the abdominal and back muscles.

_ Starting position: classic plank or with support on the forearms.
_ Place your feet together and jump from side to side.

  1. Plank with one hand support

The exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and the shoulder muscles.

_ Starting position: classic plank with support on the forearms.
_ Stretch one arm along the body.
_ Repeat with the other arm.

  1. Lateral tilts

In this variant of the plank, the muscles of the back, buttocks and thighs work.

_ Starting position: classic plank.
_ Tilt the pelvis to touch the ground with the hip.

  1. Alternate Leg Lifts

This variation increases the work of the oblique abdominal muscles, buttocks and latissimus dorsi.

_ Starting position: classic plank.
_ Extend the knee, bend the foot down and then lift it while remaining in the same position.
_ Lower your foot to touch the ground with your toes, then raise your leg again. Alternate legs.

  1. Gliding movements forwards then backwards

The exercise strengthens the muscles of the calves, biceps and abdominals.

_ Starting position: plank with support on the forearms.
_ Push with your toes so that your body slides forward parallel to the floor.
_ Return to starting position. During the exercise, it is necessary to control the abdominal muscles and not to bend the back.

  1. Cross climber

This exercise develops the muscles of the back, core and legs.

_ Starting position: classic plank.
_ Turn the body during the movement, trying to touch the left elbow with the right knee.
_ Repeat with left knee and right elbow.

  1. Plank with tension

This version of the plank works the core muscles of the body.

_ Starting position: classic plank with support on the forearms.
_ Press your forearms and toes against the floor. Increases tension in the abdomen area, tightening the muscles.
_ Stay in this position for 10-15 seconds.

Which exercise do you think is the most effective and why? Tell us all in the comments below.