You don’t realise how long 1 minute is until you’re planking. If this straightforward yet incredibly effective bodyweight exercise isn’t your go-to abs move, it should be. You could be planking pretty much every day and it would still suck, but man would it be effective. So ditch those crunches and get planking.

But if you’re looking for something a little more challenging, or just something a little different, there are 4 variations of the standard plank that you could try in your next abs workout.

1. Side Plank

The cleverly-named side plank is, quite simply, a plank performed on your side, placing either one elbow or one hand on the ground with the other arm stretched up to the sky. Not only are side planks great for aesthetic gains, but they also help improve core function and spine health.

Make sure your hips and shoulders are in-line and you aren’t leaning forward or rotating through the movement. To make it more challenging, add some hip dips by lowering and raising your hips toward the floor and back.

2. Reverse Plank

Flip it and reverse it by performing the plank facing upwards. This version of the plank really engages your glutes and hamstrings at the same time as working your core. It’s also good for working to improve your shoulder stability.

Start sat on the floor with your legs straight, place your hands with fingers pointing forward behind you. Using your hands and heels, drive your hips as high as you can, keeping the engagement throughout.

3. Bear crawl plank

This variation looks like a small and easy movement, in which your barely (lol) lift your knees off the ground. Give it a go and see if you find it easy.

Start on your hands and knees. Keeping a neutral spine at all times, raise your hips and lift your knees off the ground. From there you can crawl forwards and backwards, side to side, or simply hold for 30 seconds then rest.

4. Inverted plank

Following in the theme of hitting your core from different angles, why not walk your feet backwards up a wall? Seems straightforward enough. Start in a press-up position with your feet next to a wall, or tree or box or anything you can lean against. Carefully walk your feet up the wall as you move your hands closer to it. Hold for 30 seconds, then walk back to press-up position and then repeat.

Gay Fitness Challenge 2018

If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to enhance your training like this, why not sign up for our next Gay Fitness Challenge? Work towards your own goal, with a training and nutrition program specially designed for you. You can train alone or take part in gay group exercise classes, and you’ll have the support of fellow gay guys who are going through the same thing you are.