With 10 minutes on the clock, holding plank after plank can feel like a lifetime. But this ab-blasting plank series from Daily Burn’s new DB10 program is designed to distract your body and mind. Think: creative combinations like the push-up to plank punch, or plyometric variations like plank jacks and plank-ups.
“The idea behind these combo moves is to pair dynamic movement with traditional planks to offer core strengthening with cardio benefits,” says Dara Theodore, one of the lead trainers for the DB10 program.
Borrowing moves from Theodore and CeCe Marizu’s 10-minute DB10 workouts, these ab exercises work every angle of your core — from your upper and lower abs to your obliques to your traverse abdominis. (And they won’t skimp on your shoulders, arms and legs, either!)
Whether you’re running miles or doing deadlifts, engaging your abs is the foundation for most workouts, after all. “Your core provides balance, stability and power in any workout as well as in daily activity,” Theodore says. Do these planks in one continuous flow, and you’ve got yourself a true abs burner that’ll also make you break a sweat. “Being aware of proper plank form and building core strength will allow you to reap the benefits of the dynamic movement, as you will be able to move faster and more fluidly,” Theodore adds.
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5 Planks to Strengthen Your Core, Plus Cardio Benefits
As with all of our DB10 workouts, aim to complete as many rounds as possible of the following exercises/reps in 10 minutes. When you move continuously through each exercise at a quickened pace, you’ll ramp up your heart rate and burn more calories. For the ultimate core finisher, we hold a side plank for 30 seconds.
1. Plank to Push-Up to Inchworm
This plank variation does what it says it will: work every inch of your core, including your obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis, aka your lower abs.
How to: Get into a high plank position with your hands shoulder-distance apart and your shoulders directly in line with your hands beneath them. Engage your abs to avoid arching your back and lowering your hips (a). Perform two push-ups, letting your elbows flare slightly out to your sides at about 45 degrees. Squeeze your glutes and core throughout the entire movement, and maintain a straight line from head to toes (b). Walk your hands back towards your feet and come up to stand (c). Hop your feet forward and then hop them back out to a high plank. This is one rep (d). Do five reps.
2. Push-Up to Plank Jack
Adding a push-up to this abs exercise turns it into a total-body move, so you strengthen not only your core, but your chest, shoulders and triceps, too.
How to: Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-distance apart and your shoulders directly in line with your hands. Squeezing your glutes and your abs, lower your body down to the ground and press it back up. This is one push-up. Do one more (a). Next, bring your feet together and do four plank jacks, jumping your feet wide to each side and then hopping them back together. Avoid raising your butt (d). Do six reps.
3. Plank-Up with Diagonal Hops
Sculpting your upper and lower abs might be the key to your six-pack dreams, but if you want better spine mobility and and torso rotation, look to your obliques. These ab muscles help stabilize the spine and help you move more powerfully.
How to: From the high plank position, bring your right elbow down to the floor and then your left elbow down to the floor for a forearm plank (a). Get back into a high plank by lifting your right forearm up and then your left forearm (b). Next, bring your feet together in a high plank and hop them diagonally to your right side. Hop them back out to high plank before hopping them diagonally to your left side. This will work your obliques, which contributes to better mobility and posture (c). Do five reps.
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4. Push-Up to Plank Punch
If you want to give your arms some TLC, this abs exercise throws a punch! Incorporating a jab in this move helps strengthen your shoulders and back, as you recruit your lower abs to keep you stabilized.
How to: Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-distance apart and your shoulders directly in line with your hands. You can keep your feet a little wider apart to help you stabilize when doing the plank punch (a). Lower your body down to the ground, keeping your body in alignment and your elbows flaring slightly out to your sides (b). As you press back up, make a fist with your right hand and punch it out in front of you (c). Perform another push-up before making a fist with your left hand and punching it out (d). Do six reps.
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5. Side Planks
Ready to take your two-armed plank to the next level? Side planks force you to use your triceps, glutes and obliques to help you stay upright and find balance.
How to: Lie on your right side and place your right forearm on the ground. Engaging your core, raise your body up into a side plank, creating a straight line from your head to your toes (a). If you can, raise your left hand up towards the ceiling, gazing toward your hand. If you can’t, keep your left hand resting on your left hip (b). Hold the plank for 40 seconds and rest 20 seconds before switching sides.
For more quick, effective 10-minute workouts, sign up for the Daily Burn DB10 program. You can try it free for 30 days!
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Originally published July 2017. Updated January 2018.