11 Plank Exercises That Double as Cardio Moves

11 Plank Exercises That Double as Cardio Moves

11 Plank Exercises That Double as Cardio Moves
Get ready for a total-body challenge.
Share via Pinterest
Amber Venerable
Planks are known for their core-crushing abilities . Holding one will make anyone's abs tremble after a while. But some plank variations have another not-so-obvious superpower: Any moving plank will get your heart rate pumping, letting you sneak some cardio into your abs workout .
"You can use planks as cardio by just adding movement," Crystal Fasano, health and wellness coach at Crystal Fit Wellness and personal trainer at New York Sports Clubs in Brooklyn, tells SELF. While the below moves don't involve the same type of big, obvious heart-pumping motions that a run or a HIIT session does, the reason they work is because your whole body has to be fully engaged to maintain that plank while you also move.
"A plank is a total-body movement, so it’s not just challenging your core—you’re also working your glutes , shoulders, legs, and arms," Fasano says. "When you add in movement, you have to work harder to stabilize your hips, your core, and your glutes. Your heart rate’s going to come up just because your body has to work so hard to stabilize those major muscle groups," she explains.
Before you assume plank position , there are a few form tips you should keep in mind. "Think about sending your belly button toward your spine," Fasano says. Also, make sure you're squeezing your butt and quads. "That's something people don’t think about but it's super important. Engaging the butt and quads is going to help you tuck the pelvis under, which will prevent your hips from flying into the air. Once your hips come too high you’re going to lose the core activation," Fasano explains. ( Here's a visual of what we mean by tucking the pelvis .)
In a perfect plank, your ankles hips and shoulders should be in a straight line, but a modification if your lower back hurts at all is to raise your hips an inch or two as Fasano demonstrates in some of these moves. It'll take some of the pressure of your entire core, including your lower back, so you can avoid straining those muscles.
Here, Fasano demos 11 plank exercises that double as cardio moves.
Start in high plank with feet on gliders (towels or paper plates will work too!).
Slide your legs in toward your chest, slightly rounding your lower back as you do.
Extend the legs back out to start position.
Be careful not to go too quickly—it's easier to break form in this one than many of the others.
Lateral Plank Walks
Start in high plank.
Step left foot and left hand to left side, and immediately follow with left foot and left hand.
Take a few "steps" in one direction, then walk in the opposite direction.
Move as quickly as you can while still keeping your core tight and hips stable.
Mountain Climbers
Start in high plank.
Quickly pull your right knee into your chest, and then extend it back out as you draw your left leg into your chest.
The quicker you move, the better the cardio workout—just don't sacrifice speed for form.
Keep your butt as stable as possible, and avoid sagging into your shoulders.
For extra obliques work, do mountain climber twists—simply bring each knee underneath the body to the opposite elbow.
Start in high plank.
Jump your feet out and in (like jumping jacks).
Keep your core engaged and hips stable to minimize how much your butt bounces up and down.
Army Crawl
Start in forearm plank.
Crawl forward with your arms and let your feet tilt forward as your upper body moves.
Stop when you can no longer move forward without moving your feet.
Reverse the movement to crawl back to start.
Crawl forward and back as quickly as you can while still maintaining form.
Bring your left knee out to the left side and toward your left elbow.
Repeat on the right side.
Continue this alternating movement as quickly as you can without sacrificing form.
Start in high plank with your toes on gliders (towels or paper plates work, too!).
Walk forward with your hands and drag your legs behind.
Make sure your core is right and you're maintaining a sturdy plank throughout.
You can also reverse the movement and walk backward to get back to starting position.
Tap each hand to the opposite shoulder, alternating sides.
Keep your core engaged and focus on stabilizing your hips.
Go as quickly as you can while maintaining proper form.
Plank to Pike
Start in high plank with feet on gliders (towels or paper plates will work too!).
Slide your feet in toward your chest, keeping your legs as straight as possible and slightly rounding your lower back as you move.
Slide the legs back out to start position.
Make sure you're moving in a controlled way and not letting your back arch when you straighten back out.
Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor.
Follow with the other arm so you are in a forearm plank.
Starting the arm you began with, reverse the movement by straightening the arm and pushing back up to start.
Follow with the second arm, ending in high plank.
Repeat this movement, alternating which side you lower first with each rep.
11
Plank Into Push-up
Start in a high plank but with arms wider than shoulder-width apart (in a push-up position) and feet on gliders (towels or paper plates will work too!).
Lower your arms to begin a push-up, and as you do, slide your legs out into a V.
Push back up to complete the push-up, and slide your legs back into start position.
Keep your core strong and torso in a plank position throughout the movement.

Images Powered by Shutterstock