There’s so much more to a good ab workout than repetitive crunches, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’re here to shake up your ab exercises. Planks are an exercise that will not only help to strengthen your core, but also work your entire body.

Become a plank pro with these variations – either add the moves together to create a plank circuit, or pick your favourites and incorporate them into your regular routine to keep things fresh. Follow our six plank variations below to guarantee sculpted abs.

These moves don’t involve any fancy equipment and can be completed in the gym or at home – all you need is your body and some motivation!

1. The straight arm plank

The standard plank position is not only a tough exercise to work the core, but also engages the whole body including shoulders, back, legs and glutes. Aim to increase the amount of time that you can hold this position to build a solid core that will also help with balance, stability and strength when performing other exercise moves.

How to:

  • Lie on the floor with legs out straight, toes tucked under
  • Your elbows should be bent with palms flat on the floor directly under shoulders
  • Contract your abs then straighten your arms and lift your body
  • Maintain a neutral spine, with abs engaged throughout so that you are in a straight line from head to to

Related article: The 30 Day Plank Challenge That Will Tone And Strengthen Your Core

2. Plank jacks

These are great for increasing the heart rate and add a cardio element to your plank whilst working the whole body.

How to:

  • Start in a straight arm plank position
  • Your elbows should be bent with palms flat on the floor directly under shoulders
  • Keep the core tight and jump both legs out to the side (similar to a jumping jack motion)
  • Jump the feet back in to the centre and repeat
  • Try to keep the hips stable and maintain a straight light throughout the upper bod

Related article: The 6 Exercise Weighted Yoga Workout That Tones, Sculpts And Creates Flexibility

3. Plank knee to elbow

This move will help to target the abs and obliques, building stability whilst sculpting your waist.

How to:

  • Start in a straight arm plank position
  • Bend the right knee and bring it out to the side of your body to touch your right elbow
  • Return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side
  • Try not to rock your body; your arms should remain in the same position, bringing knee to elbow

Related article: 5 Exercises To Ramp Up Your Next Walk In The Park With This Fun And Effective Workout

4. Plank with squat thrust (side to side)

Another great cardio abs move for a total body workout that will not only help to burn fat, but also strengthen the whole core whilst targeting the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

How to:

  • Start in a straight arm plank position
  • Engage the core and jump both feet together to the outside of the right hand
  • Jump the feet back to the starting plank position and then repeat on the left side
  • Try to jump the feet as close to the hands as you can

Related article: Six Exercises To Strengthen And Create a Rounder, Plum

5. Plank hip dips

Carve out the waistline and improve endurance with this move that hits the abs, back and core.

How to:

  • Start in a straight arm plank position
  • Maintaining a tight core, rotate the spine to drop your hips down to the right side to lightly touch the floor
  • Return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side
  • Keep the upper body strong and abs engaged throughout

Related article: 4 Exercises To Maintain A Healthy Body And Keep You Looking Fabulous And Strong

6. Commando plank

Get a rock-solid core whilst sculpting your shoulders and arms.

How to:

  • Start in a straight arm plank position
  • Drop your right forearm so that it is flat on the floor, followed by the left
  • Place your right palm flat on the floor and push up so your arm is straight, then follow with your left