Ultimate 8 Minutes Plank Home Workout for Defined Abs

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The workout below includes 8 different types of planks that work your body in slightly different ways. Together, they'll hit most of the major muscle groups in your body.
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Planks are great for your core, which you probably already know. Planks are also great for working your upper body—specifically your shoulders—and your legs, hamstrings, and butt, if you’re doing them right. 

The workout below includes 8 different types of planks that work your body in slightly different ways. Together, they’ll hit most of the major muscle groups in your body. Some of them will even get your heart rate up, giving you a nice bonus cardio workout while you’re at it.

1)    Standard Plank – 1 Min

2)    Elbow Plank – 1 Min

3)    Raised Leg Plank – 1 Min

4)    Side Plank – 1Min

5)    High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow – 1 Min

6)    Plank Up-Down – 1 Min

7)    Plank with Shoulder Taps – 1 Min

8)    Forearm Plank – 1 Min

The Correct Form

Before you jump in, let’s quickly talk plank form.

  • To get into the plank position, place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and extend your legs out behind you.
  • Leave a little space between your feet—for the planks that involve movement, try separating your feet a little further apart to help add some stability so you can avoid rocking your hips.
  • When you’re in a plank, squeeze your butt cheeks, and quads and tuck your tailbone under just a bit. This will help you keep your abs engaged and avoid arching your lower back. 

Let’s get started!

1) Standard Plank

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How to do it:

  • Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width) like you’re about to do a push-up.
  • Ground toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working, too — be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
  • Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds (for beginners). As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for 1 minute without compromising your form or breath.

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2) Elbow Plank

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How to do it:

  • Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips.
  • Lower your elbows to the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to each other.
  • Rest your palms on the ground flatly.
  • Tuck your toes and step back with your feet, bringing your body and head into one straight line. Align your heels over your toes.
  • Keep your head in a line with your spine and look between your hands.
  • Firm your shoulder blades into your back.
  • Keep your entire body in a straight line.
  • Hold the pose while breathing smoothly for a couple of breaths. 

3) Raised Leg Plank

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How to do it:

  • Begin in the traditional Plank Pose (from Downward Facing Dog, inhale and shift your upper body forward, placing your shoulders directly over your wrists, keeping the core strong and torso parallel to the floor).
  • Now lower your body onto your forearms, letting your elbows touch the mattress.
  • Lift your right leg behind you and lower your foot to your mattress.
  • Repeat this lift-and-lower motion with each leg a total of 20 times.

4)  Side Plank

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How to do it:

  • This variation engages your obliques (the side muscles of your core) better than a standard plank.
  • Lie on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other, then prop your body up on your hand or elbow while keeping feet stacked.
  • You can make this exercise more difficult by raising the opposing arm or leg, or both in the air. You can make it easier by crossing the upper leg in front of your body for additional support.

5) High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

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How to do it:

  • Assume a high plank position. Bring your right knee to your left elbow hold for three seconds, then bring your left knee to your right elbow, and hold for three seconds.
  • Keep alternating in this manner for 60 seconds

6) Plank Up-Down

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How to do it:

  • Start in a high plank with your wrists under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Push your hips up and back to move into a Downward Dog with your heels reaching toward the floor. At the same time, lift your right hand off the floor and gently tap your left ankle (if possible).
  • Return your right hand to the floor and shift your weight forward to come back into high plank.
  • Now, shift back into Downward Dog but this time tap your left hand to your right ankle. Return to high plank.
  • Continue, alternating sides, for 1 minute.

7)  Plank with Shoulder Taps

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How to do it:

  • To do this exercise, set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes (advanced) or hands and knees (beginner). Place your hands under your shoulders and closer together while your feet or knees should be wider apart to provide a more stable base. 
  • Bring your feet or knees together as the move becomes easier to make it’s harder on your core to stabilize. By having your hands closer together and more centered under your chest, you will also provide yourself with a more stable base. You must remain stable with this move or you can stress your shoulder.
  • Then, bracing your abs and engaging your glutes so that your body is in a nice straight line, lift one hand off the ground, moving it slowly to touch the opposite shoulder. 
  • Keep your hips squared to the ground and do not rotate as you lift your hand to touch your shoulder.
  • Do not let your butt go up in the air or your hips sag toward the ground. Touch your opposite shoulder then slowly place your hand back down on the ground. You want to move at a very controlled pace. Lift the other hand and tap your other shoulder. Do not rotate as you lift.  Try to keep your body still and simply lift the hand to touch the opposite shoulder.    

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8)  Forearm Plank

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How to do it:

  • This variation, one of the most common ways to perform this type of exercise, is slightly easier than holding your body up with just your hands.
  • Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width. 
  • If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together.

Last Thoughts:

Often compared to a push-up, but with the weight resting on your forearms rather than just your hands, they are a great exercise to strengthen your core and make your abdominal area stronger.

Practice them! Planks will work your abdominal muscles and strengthen them over time. They are an often-overlooked, basic, yet essential exercise in any workout routine.

The problem is that they can be a bit boring, especially if you do the same variation day after day. That’s why it’s important to rotate them (upper body and lower) and vary the duration of each set. Doing so will keep you interested in doing them! And before you know it, you’ll be able to hold them longer than ever before!

So, there you have it: an effective home workout that can be done in about 8 minutes. What are you waiting for?

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