Strengthen your abs in minutes with the king of core exercises.

When it comes to core-tightening exercises, the plank reigns supreme. This intense isometric move recruits every muscle around your middle—the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis and erector spinae—yet is a low-impact alternative to standard crunches, which may put a lot of stress on the upper spine and neck. So forget about just tacking crunches on to the end of a workout. Challenge your entire core with this all-plank circuit workout that you’re definitely going to feel tomorrow.

How to do it: Perform each exercise back to back, resting 10 seconds between exercises. Go through the entire circuit 3-4 times through, with minimal rest between rounds. Think you’re a plank pro? Include the Bonus Burnout move at the end for extra impact.

Equipment:

Times per week: Up to 3, on nonconsecutive days.

Hold: 45-60 seconds
Set up: Get into a push-up position with your legs extended behind you, core engaged. Place your elbows on the floor with your hands in fists directly below your shoulders.
Action: Tilt your pelvis towards the ceiling, pulling your navel in towards your spine—do not let your hips sag towards the ground. Hold this position.

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HoverPlank

Reps: 25 per side
Set Up: Supporting your upper body on your right forearm, stack your hips and feet, creating a straight line from the crown of your head to your toes. Lift your hips off the ground towards the ceiling.
Action: Without letting your hips sink, lift your left leg as high as you can, then lower. Repeat all reps on the left leg, before switching sides.

SidePlank

Reps: 12 per side
Set Up: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place your palms down by your hips, fingertips pointing towards you. Press your hands and heels into the floor to raise your hips towards the ceiling.
Action: Kick one leg straight up, as high as you can while staying in a straight line, lower, and repeat with the other leg. Continue alternating legs for all reps.

Tip: To simplify this exercise, keep your butt on the floor in a v-sit position.

ReversePlank1

Reps: 30
Set Up: Get into standard plank position (forearms on the floor, legs extended behind you).
Action: Bring your left knee into your torso, towards your right shoulder. Return it to the start position and repeat with the opposite leg. Continue alternating legs for all reps.

PlankKneeTuck

Reps: 25 per side
Set Up: Get into the side plank position (supported on your forearm with hips and feet stacked) and raise the other arm straight into the air.
Action: Slowly twist towards the ground, lowering the raised arm and reaching it under your torso. Hold for a count, then raise it back up. Repeat for all reps before switching sides.

TwistedSidePlank

BONUS BURNOUT

Elevated Stability Ball Plank

Hold: As long as you can
Set Up: Place a stability ball next to a flat bench. Put your elbows and forearms in the center of the stability ball.
Action: Raise one foot up onto the bench behind you. Once you’re stable, raise the other foot onto the bench. Hold this position.

BallPlank2

Written by Rita Catolino, fitness model, coach and trainer | Photography by Paul Buceta
Model Jennifer Van Barneveld-Pe | Makeup & Hair by Two Chicks & Some Lipstick