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How To Do A Plank and Plank Variations


One of my favorite abs and core exercises is the Plank, and actually I do believe it is one of the best exercise for abs (with many, many catches and fine print).

Well, let me clarify.  One of my favorite exercises to make OTHER people do is the Plank.  Personally, I don’t like them because they’re hard.  But I do them anyway because they’re just too good of an exercise to leave out of a good program…no matter what the goal is.

But the big thing about Planks is that you have to do them correctly.

DUH!!!  I know that’s a stupid statement, but I can probably count on one hand the number of new clients I’ve trained who have done Planks properly right out of the gate.

And to be totally honest, they’re an exercise that are pretty easy to cheat – if you’re not paying attention.

So I created a video on how to properly do a plank and you can check it out below:

How To Do A Plank Exercise (Core Workout)

YouTube Preview Image

Another important thing to consider when doing Planks is that as you get better, you need to make them harder and to do that you need to try a different Plank variation.

Why?  Because holding a plank position is all well and good, but it gets boring, and you have to progressively work your abs and core if you want to see improvement – and holding it for 10-20 seconds longer each week has to have an end point…do you really want to hold a plank position for 2 minutes or more?  Hells to the no.

If you’re a total beginner, you might have to start off from your knees, and work yourself up to your toes – and that’s totally fine.

However, anytime you can hold a Plank position for around 45 seconds, you should try out a different variation.

To combat that, I also created a video with a few different Plank variations from beginner to advanced and you can also check that video out below:

Plank and Core Workout Variations

YouTube Preview Image

Are planks great?  Yep.  Are they a great abs exercise?  Absolutely.  Can they be overrated?  Yes, especially if your form is out of whack and you don’t try different types of the exercise.

If you have any questions about Planks, or anything else regarding workouts or nutrition, don’t hesitate to ask or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Have a great day!


P.S. – I believe that Planks are one of the very best abs exercises around.  They work so much muscle and really strengthen your core – which is weak on the overwhelming majority of people – that they MUST  be done.  I include lots of different Plank variations, as well as many other full body abs exercises and core exercises in my Fat Loss To Go program.  To get started today, head here


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Comments (35)

  • barbara

    hi i was wondering? can u lose your butt or leg muscle from planks and i usually go to a gym like once week and do planks squats pushups and core and calves at home is that ok will i lose from the gym not going there too much.

    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      Hi Barbara,
      Thanks for reading and posting the comment. I’m going to answer this as best I can since the phrasing of your question is a little tough to understand without punctuation.

      No, you won’t lose leg or butt muscle from doing Planks. They’re a core exercise and are great for strengthening the core, and the butt even gets worked a little, but you won’t “lose” muscle by doing them.

      You don’t have to go to the gym at all if you don’t like it or want to go. I design programs that are meant to be done from home (but can be done at the gym). You can do all your workouts from home and get awesome results – if you’re doing the right exercises and the right type of workout.

      Hope that helps Barbara

  • Donnchadh Ó Coisdeálbha

    Do ‘planks’ built up your abs so they’re noticable?

  • Gregory


    Thanks for the informative website/videos. Over the past six months I´ve been incorporating planks into my ab routine which I do 3 times a week which is currently doing 2 sets of 20 bicycle crunches, 2 sets of regular planks for 1 minute and a half each and 2 sets of side planks of 1 minute each.

    My question is if I should try to do more sets of planks for shorter durations, or just keep on trying to increase the durations of each?

    Thanks again…

    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      Hi Gregory.

      Great question and thanks for the feedback.

      It sounds like you’re getting pretty good at planks, which is great, but can also have its downside.

      The downside is that to make them more difficult/effective, you have to do MORE time to get the same results as before…which doesn’t sound appealing to me!

      Instead, mix in some different types of Planks.

      Do Push-up planks instead of regular planks, or 1-leg planks, Decline planks, etc. and test yourself out on those.

      You could also head to my Youtube channel and search for some other Plank videos – I have a few.

      The address is



  • kyle

    Hey Ed,…

    I do side planks every morning and when I try to lift my leg and hold it, my hip cramps up. I have tried stretching it out before hand but, I am at loss as to what to do, the problem is not apparent when I do regular planks though, any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.


    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      Hey Kyle,

      Sorry for the late reply, I wasn’t alerted to this comment.

      Actually, for my personal clients who can even attempt this advanced move, this is pretty common. One thing that I’ve discovered that works is that rather than holding that leg up the entire time, do it for a few seconds at a time.

      So if you’re holding the Side Plank for 20 seconds per side, raise that leg up for 2-5 seconds, drop it for 2-3, then raise it back up. Gradually increase the time you hold it up while decreasing the time you let it rest and see if that helps.


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