This page provides instructions for a wide variety of plank exercises. Plank exercises help to improve core strength. In turn, this helps a martial artist’s punching power and kicking power. Plank exercises generally work on abs, obliques and/or lower back muscles. However, more advanced planks can also work on shoulder muscles, leg muscles, etc.
All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For additional exercises (i.e. crunch variations), please visit the main Martial Arts Strength Training section.
Plank Exercise Variations – Click on the plank variations below for written and/or video instructions.
- Dolphin Planks
- Knee Planks – This modified plank is useful for beginners.
- Medicine Ball Planks – The instability of the medicine ball enhances the overall core workout provided by this exercise.
- One Leg Planks or Single Leg Planks
- Plank – This is the basic plank exercise where you are resting on your forearms. This exercise is also known as a forearm or elbow plank.
- Plank and Reach – This exercise involves reaching out with alternating arms while in the plank position.
- Plank Jacks – Plank jacks work on your core strength and improve your conditioning.
- Plank with Leg Raises
- Plank Knee Taps
- Plank Pikes
- Plank Shoulder Taps
- Reverse Plank – A reverse plank exercise targets your lower back and abs.
- Side Plank – The side plank exercise targets your obliques, etc.
- Side Plank Dips
- Single Arm Planks – This plank variation is similar to the Plank and Reach. However, students only hold one arm out during this exercise (versus alternating their arms).
- Single Leg Planks or One Leg Planks
- Spiderman Plank
- Straight Arm Plank – Unlike a traditional plank, you are resting on your hands and not on your forearms. It is like a stationary push-up.
- Superman Plank
- Upward Plank Pose
Additional Plank Variations
List of Plank Exercises – Medicine Ball Planks
Plank Exercise Image Provided by Wikimedia Commons