5 Minutes to a Stronger Core with Planks

Planks hit more than just your core muscles. A proper plank requires plenty of glute strength, shoulder stability and upper back endurance, so these simple exercises are deceivingly effective at training the entire body.

If you’re short on time and equipment, planks can make for a quick and surprisingly challenging core workout when you pick the right exercises, sets and reps.

Luckily, there are tons of plank variations suitable for all fitness levels. Check out these three plank workouts, separated into beginner, intermediate and advanced categories.

The Workout: Planks for Any Fitness Level

These five-minute workouts combine supine bridge, front plank and side plank variations that can be progressed or regressed based on your fitness level. The basic and intermediate workouts involve isometric holds (i.e., you assume a position and hold it steady for a given amount of time), while the advanced workout adds movement to each exercise to kick things up a notch.

Beginner

Supine Bridge Isometric Hold: 10–30 seconds
Front Plank: 10–30 seconds
Side Plank: 10–30 seconds per side

Repeat for as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes.
Try to increase duration of each exercise during every workout until you can do all three movements for 30 seconds throughout the entire 5 minutes.

Intermediate

1-Leg Supine Bridge Isometric Hold: 10–30 seconds per side
1-Leg Front Plank: 10–30 seconds per side
1-Leg Side Plank: 10–30 seconds per side

Repeat for as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes.
Try to increase duration of each exercise every workout until you can do all three movements for 30 seconds throughout the entire 5 minutes.

Advanced

Supine Bridge March: 8–12 reps per side
Front Plank Arm March: 8–12 reps per side
Side Plank Transitions: 8–12 reps per side

Repeat for as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes.
Start by doing 8 reps of each exercise and slowly increase the number of reps per set each workout. Once you can do 12 reps of everything for 5 minutes, you’re a plank master!

Tony Bonvechio
Tony Bonvechio

Tony Bonvechio (@bonvecstrength) is a strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, MA, and a personal trainer in Providence, RI. A former college baseball player turned powerlifter, he earned his Master’s degree in Exercise Science from Adelphi University. You can read more from Tony at bonvecstrength.com.

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