Plank Variations & Body Weight Exercises — Video Tutorial & Exercise Guide

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By: Stuart Carter, Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1,

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

Strength training or resistance workouts have been shown to be more effective than just exercise. But this doesn’t mean you have to sign up for the gym. In fact, you can try out these plank variations at home. All you need is a little space and your own bodyweight!

man and woman doing the plankThe plank has long been an exercise used to build core strength but has recently gained a lot of attention. There are now multiple plank variations, far too many to cover in a single article.

To really improve the results, join us at the Fit Father Project and gain access to hundreds of more exercises as well as the support you need and deserve. We are made up of fathers looking to improve their fitness with limited time available just like you!

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Performing Plank Variations

The plank will help you to stretch the lower part of your body and strengthen your core muscles. These are the ones that sit in the middle of your body and are used in practically everything you do.

Of course, the plank will also help your shoulder, arms, and thigh muscles.

The Standard Plank

rkc plank variationSimply adopt a standard push-up position and bend your elbows so that your forearms are touching the floor.

You then need to keep your torso straight and your head relaxed while holding the pose for as long as possible.

The Side Plank

The first step is to kneel down and then lay on one side. Keep your feet on the floor as you lift your body up onto one elbow and forearm.

Then hold for as long as you can. Check out this guide goes for more detail.

Leg Raised Plank

Simply perform the basic plank with one leg raised in the air parallel with the rest of your body. Hold as long as possible.
plank variations graphic

Rocking Plank

Again start with the basic plank position. Then push yourself forwards on your toes until your shoulders come past your hands. Reverse and push your heels behind your toes.

Shoulder Touching

Add a twist to the standard plank by touching your left shoulder with your right hand, and then your right with your left. But you must keep your body steady!

Reverse It

reverse plank variationSit on the floor with legs extended and your hands on the floor by your hips. Your fingers should be pointing towards your toes.

Then lift your hips. You want a straight line from head to toes, but you may not achieve it on your first attempt.

Walk It

Once your standard plank has improved, you can move up and down. Simply start with your forearms on the ground and slowly put your hand down and push up with it.

Once both arms are straight, lower yourself back down again.

Extended Plank

Again start with the standard plank position, but this time you need to have your arms straight with just your hands on the floor.

Then move your hands forward as far as you can while keeping your body straight and your core pulled in.

The Twister Plank

twister plankStart in the standard plank with arms straight and just your hands on the floor. Now move your right hand in front of your left and hold for 5 seconds.

Revert back to the original pose and then move the left hand in front of the right.

Stretch The Plank

Place your feet hip-width apart and crouch so that your fingers can touch the floor.

Now move yourself forward on your fingertips. You’re aiming to get into the standard plank position while keeping your core engaged.

The Tick Tock Plank

Become like a clock. Start your plank in the standard position with hands on the floor.  Then move one leg out to the side as far as you can.

Hold for 5 seconds, then bring it back and repeat with the other side. If you do this with a jumping motion, you’ll notice faster improvements.

The Bosu Plank

Start in the standard plank position but with your hands holding the sides of the Bosu.

Now slowly lift one leg while focusing on your core.

Stirring It Up

Try kneeling by a stability ball and rest your elbows on the ball. Slowly extend your feet into a plank position and then move your arms around in a circle five times. Change direction and repeat the rotation in reverse.

This is just a sample of the array of planks you can do!

Other Impressive Bodyweight Exercises

Of course, the plank is not the only bodyweight exercise that can help you lose weight and build muscle. There are plenty of others:

Squats

man doing squat plank variationsThe simplest and one of the most effective exercises you can do! Keep your back straight as you bend your knees and get your thighs parallel to the floor.

Push-ups

You probably already know how to do this one! It does your chest, back, arms, and abs.

Hip Raises

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then raise your hips up to make your body straight.

Lunges

man doing lunge with dumbbells plank variations
Fitness trainer executing lunges with dumbbells

Stand up with your feet together and move one foot forward. Bend both your knees, lowering your body until the front thigh is parallel with the floor.

Return to the start position and repeat with the other leg.

Crab Walk

Sit down with your feet flat on the floor in front of you with knees bent. Then put your hands flat on the floor just behind you.

Lift your hips off the floor and walk your hands and feet backwards for proximately 6 feet. Pause and repeat.

Additional Fitness Tips

The following tips will help to boost your fitness level and improve your health for life:

Eat Right

Getting the right nutrients into your body is essential to ensure your body can perform at its best. This means knowing what you should eat and eating in moderation. The perfect plate is a great starting point.

Exercise Regularly

You need to eat right in order to have a healthy body. Exercise can then help to lower your body fat and build muscle. It will also strengthen your immune system and help you to stay healthy.

Stay Hydrated

Your body is 60% water. So you need to keep these levels topped up to ensure your cells can work at peak capacity.

Aim to drink 2 liters of water every day to improve your fitness levels.

Get Your Sleep

Sleep is often underrated but a very important part of your health and fitness. The simple fact is that you need between 6 and 8 every night to help your body function properly.

Find Support

Join the FF30X team, and you’ll get all the support you need. Support will help you to achieve your goals even when you are struggling with motivation.

Staying On Top

The modern world is a stressful place, but it is possible to reduce your stress levels and even create a small amount of time for fitness. Getting healthy will dramatically improve your life in ways you cannot imagine.

Join the FF30X today and start your journey to improving your health and fitness. You need to make sure you’re there when your kids are grown up; who else can embarrass them as well as you?

Your new friend & health coach,

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Stuart Carter Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

Stuart gained his Diploma in Personal Training & Sports Medicine through Premier Global, back in 2001. In 2018, he completed his Level 1 Precision Nutrition qualification.

Throughout his career in Fitness, Stuart has trained hundreds of clients, worked in almost every position in the industry, and ran his own successful training studio.

After a hiatus away from the Fitness industry, working in Corporate Management and Finance, Stuart returned to what he loves… Fitness! This return led to a chance meeting with Dr. Balduzzi, and a place in the Fit Father Project team.

Brotherhood Nickname: The Fit Brit
Bragging Rights: 18 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the different plank variations.

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