Plank Exercise Workouts to Look Good, Build Abs and Protect your Body

Use these Plank Exercise Workouts to strength your body, look better and protect against injury.

The Plank Exercise is one of the best isometric core exercises you can do.

It involves holding the “plank” position, similar to a push up, for extended periods of time.

Benefits of the Plank

There are numerous benefits of the Plank Exercise.

The Plank Exercise Will Significantly Strengthen your Core

As one of the best core exercises that exists, will test, challenge and improve your entire midline.

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Build a stronger core

The Plank Exercise Builds Muscle

The plank requires considerable amounts of time under tension. This in turn leads to muscular hypertrophy and will help you to build a more defined stomach.

The Plank Exercise Boosts Metabolic Rate

More muscle leads to a higher resting metabolic rate. This means that you will burn more calories even when in a resting state. This makes it an excellent addition for any exercise program.

Man during plank exercise workouts
Build muscle Logan Weaver

The Plank Exercise Enhances Posture

 A stronger core and time in the Plank position will help your posture. A stronger core will find it easier to hold the spine in the correct position. The Plank forces you to think about maintaining a straight back even whilst under tension. This will cross over into everyday life.

The Plank can Help with Back Pain

The Plank improves the muscles of the back and core. This can help to alleviate current symptoms, or reduce the risk of problems later on in life.

The Plank Exercise is an Excellent Way to Build Stability

As an incredibly effective core exercise the Plank will augment stability for other movements such as climbing, twisting and moving in a variety of different ways and contexts. Twisting motions (throwing etc) will become easier and more effective.

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Muscles Worked by the Plank

The plank activates the core muscles including:

  • Transversus abdominis
  • Rectus abdominis
  • External oblique muscles
  • Internal oblique

It also works the back, arms, shoulders, glutes and hamstrings.

How to Do the Plank

Firstly, you must decide whether you want to do the Plank Exercise resting on your hands or your elbows. From there you can follow these instructions.

Start in a Push Up position

Resting on Hands: Begin in the top of Push Up position with your elbows directly under your shoulders.

Resting on your Forearms: Starting from the top of a Push Ups position, move down, one elbow at a time, down onto your forearms, with your hands clasped together.

  1. Inhale and brace your core and glutes.
  2. Contract your quads
  3. Maintain a neutral spine
  4. Hold for the designated period of time

Technique Tips for the Plank

When you tense your core, think about pulling your belly button towards your spine.

Breathe in a relaxed way but don’t allow your body to become loose. Stay tight at all times.

Plank Variations

There are many variations of the plank exercise, including;

  • Front Plank
  • Front Plank with hip raise (high activation of gluteus max)
  • Side Plank
  • Side Plank abduction (high activation of gluteus medius on the contralateral weight bearing side)
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Stay strong Logan Weaver

Plank Alternatives

If injury or another reason means you are unable to perform the Plank Exercise then these are all great Plank alternatives.

Diagonal Crunch

  1. Lie down on your right side
  2. Place your right hip on the floor and balance on your right forearm
  3. Balance your left arm slightly above your left leg
  4. Maintain straight legs.
  5. Lift the legs a few inches off the floor
  6. Reach the left hand towards the left ankle
  7. Repeat for desired number of reps then switch sides

Belly Up Crunch

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Extend your arms above your head
  3. Raise your feet so that the shins are parallel to floor
  4. At the same time, bring your hands to meet the knees

Crunch And Reach

  1. Lie on your back with your arms above your head
  2. Raise your legs up to form a 90-degree angle
  3. Keeping them straight, open them to form a V
  4. Close legs, crossing ankles, and crunch up.
  5. Lower and repeat
  6. Change sides with each rep

Plank Exercise Workouts

Scroll through and find your next Plank Exercise Workout.

Workout 1

For Time

  • 5-minute Accumulated Plank Hold
  • 5-minute Accumulated Left-Side Plank Hold
  • 5 minute Accumulated Right-Side Plank Hold

Every rest, perform:

  • 2 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 4 Burpees
  • 8 Air Squats

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Athlete must complete the accumulated time for each Plank Hold. Every rest, perform 2 Handstand Push-Ups, 4 Burpees, and 8 Air Squats.

Score is the time on the clock when the Right Plank Hold is completed.

With a running clock, perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete must complete the accumulated time for each Plank Hold. Every rest, perform 2 Handstand Push-Ups, 4 Burpees, and 8 Air Squats.

Score is the time on the clock when the Right Plank Hold is completed.

Workout 2

For Time

  • Buy-In: 26 Burpees

Then 6 Rounds of:

Buy-Out: 3 minutes and 49 seconds Forearm Plank Hold*

*Perform a penalty for each break or rest from Plank:

– 1st Break: 3 Burpees

– 2nd Break: 4 Burpees

– 3rd Break and more: 9 Burpees

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Athlete must complete the buy-in of 26 Burpees before moving on to 6 rounds of Kettlebell Swings, Push-Ups and Goblet Squats. To complete the workout, accumulate 3 minutes and 49 seconds in a Forearm Plank hold.

For each break from the plank, athlete must perform the prescribed number of Burpees before resuming the Plank Hold.

Only time spent in the proper Plank position counts toward the cumulative time.

For example, if athlete completes 1:45 of Plank Hold in the first attempt, then rests, the athlete must perform 3 Burpees before resuming the plank hold.

If athlete breaks again at 3:15, he/she must then perform 4 Burpees before resuming Plank. Continue in this manner until 3:49 is accumulated in the Plank position.

Score is the time on the clock when the Plank Hold is completed.

Workout 3

1,000 rep bodyweight workout

4 rounds, 25 reps each

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Build conditioning

Workout 4

Buy-In: 50 Burpees

Directly into, 10 Rounds of:

  • 3 Inverted Burpees
  • 12 Shoulder Taps

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work. Athlete must complete the buy-in of 50 Burpees before moving on to 10 rounds of 3 Inverted Burpees and 12 Shoulder Taps, 6 on each shoulder.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Shoulder Taps is completed.

Movement Standards

Shoulder Tap: From a Plank Hold position, tap the left shoulder with the right hand and the right shoulder with the left hand. Each tap counts as one rep.

Workout 5

3 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Dumbbell Sit-Ups (50/35 lb)
  • 20 Dumbbell Russian Twists (50/35 lb)
  • 10 Right Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 Left Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 V-Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of V-Ups is completed.

Scaling

Bodyweight

3 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Sit-Ups
  • 20 Russian Twists
  • 10 Right Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 Left Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 V-Ups

Scaled

3 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Sit-Ups
  • 20 Russian Twists
  • 10 Right Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 Left Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 V Crunches

Workout 6

13 Rounds for Time

  • 13 Air Squats
  • 13 Push-Ups
  • 13 Reverse Crunches
  • 13 Dips

Cash-Out: 4 minute Plank Hold (cumulative)

Time Cap: 22 minutes

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 13 rounds.

Athlete must complete 13 Air Squats, 13 Push-Ups, 13 Reverse Crunches, and 13 Dips. To complete the workout, accomplish the cash-out of 4-minute Plank Hold. Accumulate 4 total minutes in the Plank Hold position.

Break from the Plank Hold as needed but do not count rest time toward the 2 minutes.

Score is the time on the clock when the Plank Hold is completed.

Movement Standards

Reverse Crunch: Lying on your back, raise your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Breathe out and contract the abs to bring the knees up towards the chest by raising the hips off the floor.

Hold for a second, then lower your hips and legs back to the starting position.

Workout 7

For time:

  • 150 Air squats

*30 sec. plank every time you break your sets

  • 75 Push Ups

*30 sec. Wall Sit every time you break your sets

Wear a Weight vest

Workout 8

AMRAP in 9 minutes

  • 10/7 calorie Assault Air Bike
  • 10 High to Low Plank Holds
  • 10 Push-Ups

On a 9-minute clock, complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 9-minute clock stops.

Movement Standards

High to Low Plank Holds: From the Full Plank Hold position, move into an Elbow Plank Hold, then back to the starting position.

This counts as one rep.

Plank Exercise Workouts 9

Buy-In: 20 Burpees

Then, EMOM in 28 Minutes of:

  • 11 Devil Presses (2×50/35 lb) / Push-Up Hold
  • 11 Thrusters (2×50/35 lb) / Farmer’s Walk Hold
  • 11 Plank Rocks / Plank Hold
  • 11 Alternating Lunges / Wall Sit
  • 11 Sprinter Sit-Ups / Pogos
  • 11 Dumbbell Snatches (2×50/35 lb) / Squat Hold
  • 11 calorie Row / Rest

Repeat 3 Times

Buy-Out: 20 Burpees

Before starting the workout, athlete must complete 20 Burpees as a buy-in. Then on a 28-minute clock, perform 3 rounds of the prescribed work.

Each pair of movements needs to be accomplished every minute.

For the first minute, athlete must complete 11 Devil Presses and in the remaining time maintain a Push-Up Hold.

For the second minute, athlete must complete 11 Thrusters and in the remaining time hold the Dumbbells in a Farmer’s Carry and staying in place.

For the third minute, athlete must complete 11 Plank Rocks and in the remaining time maintain a Plank Hold.

Follow the same sequence until the 7th minute. Then repeat the cycle for 2 more rounds. To complete the workout, perform the buy-out of 20 Burpees.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed.

Movement Standards

Push-Up Hold: From a Plank Hold position, bend your elbows to lower your chest and hold it just above the floor.

Plank Rock: From a Plank Hold position, pull your shoulders forward over your hands without moving the feet. Rock back to the starting position.

Sprinter Sit-Up: With your back flat on the ground, lift your right hand and left leg. Touch your right hand to your left foot. Lower your right hand and left foot. Repeat with your left hand and right foot.

Pogo: This movement is a variation of the standard Vertical Jump in which athlete performs a Vertical Jump with only a slight dip in the knees. Recoil after landing and move immediately to the next jump, again with only a slight bend in the knees.

Squat Hold: Hold the bottom of the Squat position.

Down Up: This movement, also known as a Half Burpee, requires the athlete to start in a standing position, fold forward to drop the hands to the ground by the feed, then step or hop the feet back to the plank position.

Step or hop the feet back to the hands and stand tall to complete a single repetition.

Scaling Options

Buy-In: 20 Burpees

Then, EMOM in 28 Minutes of:

  • 11 Pike Push-Ups / Push-Up Hold
  • 11 Burpees/ Squat Hold
  • 11 Plank Rocks / Plank Hold
  • 11 Alternating Lunges / Wall Sit
  • 11 Down Ups / Pogos
  • 11 1.5 Air Squats / Handstand Hold
  • 11 Resisted Deadbugs / Hollow Hold

Repeat 3 times

Buy-Out: 20 Burpees

Plank Exercise Workouts 10

4 Rounds for Time

  • 3 Flights Stairs with Air Pack
  • 10 Sandbag Squats (100/75 lb)
  • 10 Sandbag Plank Pulls (100/75 lb)
  • 10 Sandbag Cleans (100/75 lb)
  • 10 Sandbag Glute Bridges (100/75 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 4 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Sandbag Glute Bridges is completed.

Movement Standards

Sandbag Plank Pull: In a Plank position, move the Sandbag from the left side to the right side, then from the right side to the left. Each switch is counted as one rep.

Sandbag Glute Bridge: Lay on the ground with the back flat on the ground and the knees and legs perpendicular to the floor. Put the Sandbag on the hips and raise the hip towards the air into a Bridge position.

This is counted as one rep.

Workout 11

5 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 30 second Plank
  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 30 second Plank
  • 1 minute Rest

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 5 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of 30 second Plank is completed.

Workout 12

4 rounds

  • 12 push ups
  • 24 sit ups
  • 12 tricep dips
  • 24 glute bridges
  • 12 plank up-downs
  • 24 flutter kicks

Workout 13

for time:

  • 100 sit ups
  • 90 flutter kicks (2-count)
  • 80 bicycle crunches
  • 70 mountain climbers
  • 60 second plank
  • 50 lunges
  • 40 squats
  • 30 push ups
  • 20 dips
  • 10 burpees

Workout 14

EMOM – 60 MINUTES

  • Minute 1: 15 Russian KB swings 53/35
  • Minute 2: 20 abmat situps
  • Minute 3: 6 double pushup burpees
  • Minute 4: 15 air squats
  • Minute 5: 60 secs wall sit or elbow plank hold
  • Minute 6: 60 secs REST

This workout is done in an EMOM format, meaning ‘every minute on the minute’.

You will set a timer to go off every 60 secs/1 minute. Each time the timer hits the 1 minute mark, you will perform the prescribed movement for the identified reps.

Workout 15

20-minute AMRAP

  • 12 v-ups
  • 6 burpees
  • 12 plank shoulder taps
  • 6 burpees
  • 12 windshield wipers
  • 6 burpees

Workout 16

4 Rounds for Time

  • 400 metre Run
  • 2-minute Plank Hold (cumulative)
  • 23 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
  • 20 Alternating Kettlebell Snatches (50/35 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 4 rounds.

Accumulate 2 total minutes in the Plank Hold position per round. Break from the Plank Hold as needed but do not count rest time toward the 2 minutes.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Alternating Kettlebell Snatches is completed.

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Plank Exercise Workouts 17

For Time

  • 10-minute Plank Hold

Every time you rest, perform:

  • 4 Burpees
  • 6 Hand Release Push-Ups
  • 8 Alternating Pistols

Plank Exercise Workouts 18

4 Rounds for Time

  • 23 Russian Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1 pood)
  • 23 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
  • 23 Sit-Ups
  • 23 Dumbbell Snatches (35/25 lb)
  • 23 Goblet Squats (1.5/1 pood)
  • 23 Double-Unders
  • 23 Medicine Ball Cleans (20/14 lb)

Then:

186 seconds (3:06) cumulative Plank Hold

For the cash out (finisher) Plank Hold, accumulate a total of 186 seconds in the Plank Hold position. Rest as needed but do not count any of the rest time.

Plank Exercise Workouts 19

AMRAP in 9 minutes

  • 60 Lateral Hops
  • 7 Burpee Broad Jumps
  • 1 minute Plank Hold

On a 9-minute clock, complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible (“AMRAP”) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 9-minute clock stops.

Plank Exercise Workouts 20

3 rounds

  • 1 minute elbow plank
  • 30 second wall sit
  • 1 minute right side plank
  • 30 second wall sit
  • 1 minute full plank
  • 30 second wall sit
  • 1 minute left side plank
  • 30 sec wall sit
  • 1 minute rest between rounds

Plank Exercise Workouts 21

5 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 30 second Plank Hold
  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 30 second Plank Hold
  • Rest 1 minute

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 5 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Plank Hold is completed.

Plank Exercise Workouts 22

For Time

  • 5,000 metre Run

Every 3 minutes, perform:

  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Plank Push-Ups
  • 10 Alternating Lunges

Time Cap: 40 minutes

With a running clock, as fast as possible Run 5,000 metres. Every 3 minutes, perform 10 Burpees, 10 Plank Push-Ups, and 10 Lunges.

Score is the time on the clock when the 5,000 metre Run is completed.

Movement Standards

Plank Push-Up: From an Elbow Plank position, plant both of your hands to the ground for a full Plank Hold and then go back to the Elbow Plank.

Scaling Options

If the given variation is too hard for you, scale “Carey” by Running 3,000 metres instead of 5,000 metres.

Plank Exercise Workouts 23

4 minute tabata

  • plank up-downs

4 minute tabata

  • plank hip dips

4 minute tabata

  • side plank dips, left

4 minute tabata

  • side plank dips, right

tabata = :20 work/:10 rest

1 minute rest between tabatas

Plank Exercise Workouts 24

3 Rounds for Total Reps in 16 minutes 30 seconds

  • 90 seconds Max Dumbbell Man Makers (2×50/35 lb)
  • 90 seconds Plank Hold
  • 90 seconds Max Double-Unders

Rest 90 seconds

On a 16:30 clock, complete as many repetitions as possible (“AMRAP”) of the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds. Rest 90 seconds after every round.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 16:30 clock stops.

Plank Exercise Workouts 25

For Time

  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 101 second Ruck Squat Hold (35/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 50 Ruck Push-Ups (35/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 101 second Plank Hold with Ruck (35/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 101 Burpees
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 101 second Overhead Ruck Hold (35/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 100 metre Bear Crawl Ruck (35/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)
  • 50 Ruck Thrusters (35/25 lb)
  • 400 metre Ruck Run (35/25 lb)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Perform the prescribed movements while wearing a Ruck except for Burpees.

For the Thrusters and Overhead Hold, athlete will use the Ruck for the weight.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of 400 metre Ruck Run is completed.

Note:  The workout as originally written called for a “Bergen” which is a British army rucksack.

Plank Exercise Workouts 26

For Time

  • 5 mile run
  • 6 minute Plank Hold (cumulative)
  • 20 Burpee Pull-Ups
  • 160 Walking Lunges
  • 64 Push-Ups
  • 64 Sit-Ups

Workout (Partner) – 27

For Time (with a Partner)

  • 800 metre Farmer Carry (24/16kg)
  • 100 Air Squats / Plank Hold
  • 90 Pull-Ups / Superman Hold
  • 80 Sit-Ups / Wall Sit Hold
  • 70 Burpees / Hang Hold
  • 60 Hand-Release Push-Ups / Handstand Hold
  • 50 Buddy Deadlifts (100/70 kg)
  • 400 metre Farmer Carry (24/16 kg)

To start, partners do the farmer carry together (each athlete carries two kettlebells, one in each hand).

For the next five movements one partner works while the other partner ‘holds.’ If one partner takes a break, partners switch positions then continue.

The buddy deadlifts are performed with a single bar, both partners lifting it together.

Workout (Partner) – 28

AMRAP (with a Partner) in 18 minutes

6 Rounds of:

  • 1 minute Plank Hold / Push-Ups
  • 1 minute Wall Sit Hold / Jumping Squats
  • 1 minute Handstand Hold / Hollow Rocks

One partner does the hold while the other does the movement. Swap after each completed 3 minute round.

Partner one stays on the hold station for each of the three 1 minute stations in the three minute round. Once the 3 minute round is completed partner one and partner two switch places so partner two is doing the holds for each one minute station.

Score is the total number of repetitions (Push-Ups, Jumping Squats, and Hollow Rocks) completed with partners’ scores combined.

Tips and Strategy

Try to recover your breathing and slow your heart rate down as much as possible when completing the static holds.

Keep an eye on funky foot positioning when doing high rep jumping squats, they can have a mind of their own!

Intended Stimulus

You want to keep moving for the minute so choose a movement or progression of the movement that allows you to keep it going.

The partner working on static holds should be able to breathe through those holds and have some chance to recover a bit during those three minutes.

Scaling

Move Push-Ups to a raised surface or sub for Push-Up negatives if you cannot do Push-Ups. Try 30 seconds per leg of single leg Wall Sits if Wall Sit feels too easy.

Work on nose and toes only against the wall on the stomach to wall handstand for extra challenge. Hold a weight over your head (heavy book or odd object) to give you that extra burn on hollow rocks.

Workout (Partner) – 29

4 Rounds (with a Partner) for Time

  • 8 Man Makers (2×50/35 lb) / Plank Hold
  • 20 Deadlifts (275/205 lb) / Wall Sit
  • 24 One-Arm Dumbbell Thrusters (50/30 lb) / Scissor Kicks

Cash out:

  • 500 Double-Unders / Row

With a running clock Partner A starts the man makers while Partner B holds plank. Partner A may not start a rep until partner B is working.

Partition the work as needed, but both partners must work at the same time. Partners may switch positions at will.

Once the man makers are complete, either partner may start the deadlifts, and so on. There is no minimum work requirement (eg: metres or calories) on the final row, but the rowing partner must be rowing in order for any of the other partner’s Double-Unders to count.

One man maker consists of a dumbbell push-up, two renegade rows (one per arm), and a squat clean thruster.

Score is the time on the clock when the cash-out is completed.

Workout (Partner) – 30

For Time (with a Partner)

  • Deadlift Hold (135 lb)
  • 40 Air Squats
  • Back Squat Hold (135 lb)
  • 40 Sit-Ups
  • Plank Hold
  • 40 Push-Ups
  • Deep Squat Hold
  • 40 Burpees

Each set of movements should be performed by the pair alternately before moving on to the next set of movements.

If the person holding deadlift, back squat, plank, or deep squat hold drops the bar or comes out their plank or deep squat hold, the partner cannot continue until the bar is back in the hold position.

Feel free to help partner get the barbell in the back squat hold position.

Do planks help get a flat stomach?

Yes, the Plank Exercise will help you get a defined stomach and strong core.

They are an excellent calorie burning exercise that works and improves multiple muscles at the same time. They will also improve your posture, flexibility and create a better stomach.

How long should a beginner hold a plank?

When you start, 10 – 30 seconds is a great place to begin. Focus on great form and do higher numbers of sets for less ammounts of time to build up the basic core strength you need for the Plank Exercise.

Aim to work up to a minute and then build up to 2 minutes from there.

What is Plank exercise good for?

The Plank Exercise is excellent for building core strength, improving posture, reducing the risk of back injury, creating better stability and strengthening your mental toughness.

Is it OK to Plank every day?

Yes. Planks are a relatively low impact exercise that can be done every day.

How many calories does a 1-minute Plank burn?

The plank is a highly effective abdominal-strengthening exercise. For most people, it burns between two and five calories per minute.

Plank Exercise Workouts

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