The Six Best Plank Workouts for Getting Six-Pack Abs

a guys does plans to target his ab muscles

While planning out a workout, there are several exercises a person can include in their routine. One of these exercises would be the plank as it is well-regarded for offering an engaging ab workout.

For those ready to take the next step and build out a proper ab workout, it’s time to learn more about the plank and what it has to offer.

Here are some of the key advantages and workouts to include in your regimen.

What Are Planks?

Planks or “planking” refer to a movement which heavily engages the core muscles. When done right, these can help build endurance, strength, and balance.

The name plank is designed to help mimic a plank of wood where the body is straight and unwavering during the movement.

In general, this movement can be completed without the use of weights, however, experienced individuals are more than welcome to add resistance.

Benefits of Plank Workouts

1. Builds Core Strength

a woman displays her nice abs

Core strength is the main benefit of using a plank. This has a lot to do with the amount of resistance put against the core as soon as you get into position.

The core has to push against gravity and its weight pulls down making it even harder to stay straight. Being able to do this is essential for people who want to work out.

As the core is engaged, it is going to take a long time to handle.

These are the details that make planks such a wonderful solution in the long-term and will help build muscle as quickly as necessary.

2. You Can Do Them Anywhere

One of the most important requirements with any workout is to make sure it is convenient. You do not want to move ahead with a movement that requires additional equipment or is going to take up too much time to set up.

This happens all the time but is not the case with simple planks. You are able to settle in anywhere and get going with the workout.

If necessary, you don’t even need a mat!

This is why many people enjoy the plank and love having it as a part of their ab workout.

3. Easy To Add Resistance

Resistance is one of the reasons people like the plank because you can quickly add weight. This can be done by wearing a weighted backpack or vest as a way to add resistance to the body.

Therefore, when you go into a plank, the body will have to hold up more weight. This is why many individuals like to add in the plank when it comes to building an ab workout.

The movement is straight to the point and makes the core work as hard as you want it to.

Six Plank Workouts For Your Abs

1. Traditional Plank

a woman displays her nice abs

  1. Start in the traditional push-up position
  2. Touch both forearms on the ground
  3. Keep the body in a rigid, straight line
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds
  5. Repeat 3-4 times

Let’s begin with the traditional plank as that is one of the best ways to engage your core.

The traditional plank is the first movement you should master as it’s the foundation for every other variation.

In this workout, you are going to look to hold the position and make sure you are evenly distributing the weight.

It’s easy for people to sag at the hips or raise their butt higher than it should be.

Remember, the goal is to look like a plank of wood and that means no bends in your hips! Pay attention to this even if you have to hold for less time as getting the form spot on is your main focus.

If the form isn’t correct, you are going to end up getting injured and that is one of the worst feelings in the world!

In addition, don’t be afraid to add resistance if you find this to be easy. A simple weighted vest (20 lbs) is going to be a game-changer.

2. Plank + Leg Lift

  1. Start in the traditional push-up position
  2. Touch both forearms on the ground
  3. Lift one leg off the ground
  4. Keep the body in a rigid, straight line
  5. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  6. Switch legs and continue for another 15 seconds
  7. Repeat 3-4 times

a man gets ready to lift his leg while planking

This variation is aimed at starting in the traditional position but lifting your leg up in the air.

The premise of doing this is to make sure additional resistance is added to the movement.

It is a great option for those looking to add resistance without using weighted objects.

Instead, you can simply lift the leg and target the core in this manner.

It is also a good option for individuals looking to naturally add resistance without looking for exterior items.

When you are in a hurry, this is a wonderful option to have up your sleeve and will do wonders to the core.

Also, please make sure to lift the leg in a straight angle as it might lead to unnecessary injury.

3. Side Plank

  1. Start in the traditional push-up position
  2. Lift right arm and turn the body to that side
  3. Keep the body in a rigid, straight line
  4. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  5. Switch arms and turn to the other side
  6. Repeat 3-4 times

This is one of the best plank variations for hitting your obliques and is highly recommended by experts. The reason to go ahead and incorporate this movement has a lot to do with how neglected your obliques can get after a while.

Most people will do sit-ups and regular planks without thinking about the side of their core. In this case, you are going to change things up and hit those obliques head-on!

a woman shows the proper plank form for core workouts

This is one of the ideal options for those looking to incorporate a well-rounded solution and rotate through it over time.

Make sure to pay attention to how your body is reacting and adjust accordingly. This will help keep you safe and healthy as the movement is completed.

In some cases, you are also welcome to keep the arm straight up in the air as a way to add even more resistance.

However, when starting off, you should be looking to keep things simple and rest the arm on your side.

4. Straight Arm Plank

  1. Start in the traditional push-up position
  2. Keep the body in a rigid, straight line
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds
  4. Repeat 3-4 times

The straight arm plank is an ideal solution and does feel great. You are going to be putting stress on the core and it will fight to bend.

As long as you keep it rigid, this is one of the best plank workouts on the planet. It will make you feel on top of the world since it’s hard to hold this position for long due to gravity.

You will also feel a bit of pressure in your arms and that’s normal.

Don’t be afraid to play around with this movement to see if you can target the abs different. For example, you can try keeping the feet together and then moving them far apart.

This is an ideal fit for those who want to put together a good workout that will last for a long time and is going to help keep the core feeling great.

5. Static Hold Plank

  1. Start in the traditional push-up position
  2. Go half way down (elbows should bend at a 90-degree angle)
  3. Keep the body in a rigid, straight line
  4. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  5. Repeat 3-4 times

The static hold is one of the toughest variations on this list and will be a great one to look into as you start to move forward with your regimen. The idea of this is to do a half pushup where you are going to be “stuck” midway.

This is going to cause all of your upper body to tense up (in a good way!) and the results will be incredible. You are going to notice stress in the chest, triceps, core, and shoulders.

Focus on holding the pose properly as the results will be incredible!

6. Commando Plank

  1. Start in the traditional push-up position
  2. Touch both forearms on the ground
  3. Switch back to the traditional pushup position
  4. Keep rotating between both setups until 30 seconds are up
  5. Repeat 3-4 times

The final variation would have to be the commando plank and it is a challenging one due to execution. You will want to rotate through the two-step plank by doing it in rhythm.

It will take a bit of time to learn but once you nail it down, this is one of the more engaging variations available to people.

The commando plank is often done by intermediate and advanced learners because of how engaging it can be. You will notice the changes in your core as soon as this is brought into the mix.

Getting Started

If you’re brand new to working out, there are a number of different ways that you can get started doing some amazing plank workouts.

If you’re more of a “home workout” kind of person, then something like the DailyBurn which can be streamed online may be an option you want to check out.

Otherwise, a good fitness trainer at your local gym or even a class may be a great way to start.

Either, put these plank workouts to the test, and start building the core you’ve always wanted.