Discover MEtime, a world of wellbeing and fitness to motivate and inspire



If you’re short on time and need a two for one workout, try these 5 moves to encourage not only firing up your ab muscles but also burning the calories too.

We’ve taken the king of core, the static plank,  and added in some explosive movements, to not only work your core from every angle – hitting the transverse abdominals (that provide stability), obliques (for side bending), and the rectus abdominis (to sculpt and shape) – but also improve muscular power and get that heart rate pumping. So you can tick off those core and cardio boxes on this week’s workout list in one hit!  

When you perform a plank correctly, your whole body has to be fully engaged to allow you to hold the position, so it’s not just challenging your core, but your entire body. Throw in some explosive movements too, and your body has to work even harder to stabilize key areas of the body, including hips, core and glutes. This in turn makes your body work even harder to keep those major muscle groups stabilized which will really get that heart rate pumping.

Before you start any plank position, be sure to follow the top tips below  and always keep these in mind throughout your exercises.

  1. Keep your core engaged at all times and think about sending your belly button towards your spine.
  2. Engage your butt and quad muscles by squeezing them tightly, to help tuck that pelvis under and prevent your hips elevating up into the air. If this happens, you’re going to lose core activiation and the exercises will be less effective.
  3. Your ankles, hips and shoulders should be in a straight line. Stop performing the exercises and seek professional help should you find that you experience any pain or discomfort, particularly in the lower back.

Now you’re ready to get those abs and calories burning and try out these top 5 plank exercises below that also double as cardio moves. For more information and to view video instructions on how to perform each move, click on the exercise title.

If you’re new to planking, start with completing each plank for 30 seconds. And then slowly increase the time each week by a further 10 seconds, with the aim being to complete each plank for 60 seconds before moving onto the next variation. After 3 rounds, your abs and your body will be super fired up.

Side Plank Walk

Start in plank position

Step your left foot and left hand to the left.

Then immediately follow with the right.

Take a few steps to the left and then repeat with the right side.

Move quickly, keeping your glutes and core tight.

Mountain Climbers

Start in plank position

Bring your right knee up into your chest as fast as you can, and then return it back to the same starting point whilst simultaneously bringing the left knee up to the chest.

To maximise working the obliques, add in a twist. So bring each knee into the opposite elbow.

Plank Jumps

Start in plank position

jump your feet out to the sides

pause there and then jump them back in together.

Keep jumping them in and out for the duration of the exercise

Squat Thrust Plank for beginners

Start in standing position, arms at your side and feet hip width apart

Drop your hands down to the floor and then step your right leg back and then your left leg so you are now in a plank position.

Then bring your right leg back to your hand, followed by your left leg and then return to standing position.

Alternating Plank

Start in a plank position

Then drop your right arm down so you are resting on your elbow. And then do the same with your left arm.

Then when both forearms are on the ground, bring your right arm back up to plank position

And then follow this with the left arm.

Written by Kate Swinson - Founder of MEvME


Plank Pose

Plank Exercise