Having a strong core means more than just having a flat tummy, toned abs, and sculpted obliques (although we all love to look that way). Core-strengthening plank exercises can help relieve lower back pain, give you the power to lift and carry everyday belongings, and improve your posture. To help you strengthen and tone your core, Inspirations & Celebrations‘ Fitness Contributor, Jacqueline Hinton (a Los Angeles based Pilates instructor and the CEO of the Pilates lifestyle brand Good Citizen) shares 5 plank exercises in today’s fitness guide.


Are you ready to strengthen and tone your core? Of course, you are, and we’ve got the workout just for you. These full body plank-focused exercises are guaranteed to make you strong and get your tummy and core ready for the upcoming holidays. Time to walk the plank, matey. Arrrrgh!

5 Plank Exercises To Strengthen and Tone Your Core

5 Plank Exercises

Plank #1
Hold a plank either on your forearms or on your hands for as long as you can. Begin with 30 seconds and as this plank gets easier add another 30 seconds. The longest plank ever held was 8 hours and 1minute. So, plank on!

Plank #2
Now that you’re warm, get back into that plank position. Once you’re there, pull your right knee into your chest without shifting your back or the weight in your body. Like the last plank, begin with 30 seconds, then switch and do the same thing with your left leg.

Plank #3
Are you sweating yet? No? Well then, get back into your plank position. This time, pull your right knee toward your right armpit and hold the move. Hold this position for as long as you can and then switch sides. Keep your body position constant and don’t shift your weight. It should feel as though both feet are on the floor.

Plank #4
Hang in there, you’re getting close. Only two more exercises left! And you guessed it, it’s time to work those obliques. Get back into a plank position, but this time, bring your right knee to your left elbow. This one is tricky because you’re going to want to shift your weight and drop your hips towards the floor. DON’T! Hold for as long as you can and repeat on the other side.

Plank #5
Time for the last and final plank, the combo plank. Repeat each plank starting with #1, but instead of holding the plank, you’re going to dip your right hip to the floor and then switch and dip your left hip to the floor. Repeat this 20 times (right and left is one rep). Now, immediately move to plank #2. Instead of holding the leg in you will alternate the legs 20 times (right and left is one rep). Do the same thing with plank #3 and #4. Once you’ve completed one round, rest for one minute and repeat 3 three more times.

Well, you should be proud of yourself.  You just made it through one killer ab-crushing workout. Your body is going to thank you–big time! Now, you don’t have to fret over that extra slice of pumpkin pie you’re sure to have in a few weeks. Happy planking!

For more expert fitness tips and workouts, visit the Fitness section on Inspirations & Celebrations.


Fitness Contributor: Jacqueline Hinton

Contributor Jacqueline HintonJacqueline Hinton is a Los Angeles based Pilates instructor, the CEO of the Pilates lifestyle brand Good Citizen, and a professional dancer with a BFA in Dance from The University of Texas at Austin. Jackie has over a decade in the Pilates industry and has forever changed the world of Pilates by creating the original personal Pilates loop. As a fitness contributor to Inspirations & Celebrations, Jackie shares exercise and fitness tips to help you shape and sculpt your body.


[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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