There are so many great abdominal movements to consider in your workout routine, and planks are certainly one of them. The key is to build strength first, then keep adding to the list. Once you have a strong foundation in your core, remember to switch up your core exercises so your muscles are always being trained and challenged.
Here are three very simple and efficient movements to add to your next workout. If you're a beginner, focus first on perfecting your forearm plank. When that's solid and you're ready to build more strength, try these. (If you already work your core and are ready for a challenge, you'll love these exercises as well.) Check out the moves, then watch the video below for an easy demonstration.
1. Toe-tap forearm plank
Start in forearm plank with elbows under shoulders; legs are together with forefeet on floor. Extend one foot out to the side, keeping the leg straight, and tap your toe to the ground, then bring the leg straight back to the body. Repeat with the other leg. The key is to focus on only moving your lower body; try to keep the hips, shoulders, and head still. Do not hunch your shoulders or let your hips come up high. Do 10 on each side.
2. Forearm plank with knee to elbow
In forearm plank, tighten your abs and bring one knee to the outside of the same arm. From there, pause and hold for a moment before straightening the leg back behind you. Alternate sides and keep the hips neutral, working your obliques. Do 10 on each side.
3. Forearm-plank pelvic tucks
This motion is very subtle. Hold forearm plank and tilt your pelvis forward and then release to a slight arch. Repeat. It will feel almost like an up-and-down movement, but the movement is coming from the pelvis and not the hips. Watch that your hips do not come up high, and think of your pelvis tucking under. You will really feel the ab muscles firing. Keep your neck neutral and back flat. Do 10 on each side.