There’s no question that plain ol’ planks are perfectly great for working your core muscles. But if you want to kick things up a notch and tack stability and oblique work into the mix, take a cue from Jiu Jitsu and try a “rolling plank.”
The rolling—or side-to-side—plank involves switching between a left and right side plank with a brief forearm plank in between (whew). Combining the three poses together into one fluid movement works all of the muscles in your core and challenges your stability, and according Noah Neiman, co-founder of Rumble Boxing, it’s the hardest plank variation out there.
“When we create structural instability through movement, it forces our core to compensate to protect our spine,” he says, explaining that the main purpose of your core in general is to keep your spine safe. “The rolling plank creates a ton of instability, as keeping our core muscles engaged through the movement helps create strength in those muscles.” So in addition to lighting your abs on fire, the rolling plank is also a great option after a long day of desk sitting.
To do the move properly, begin in a forearm plank with your hips down, abs tight and engaged, and your spine in neutral. Then roll into one side plank with your top arm raised straight into the air, feet stacked on top of each other (or staggered for better balance) and your hips raised up. Hold at the top, roll back into a forearm plank, and roll into your other side for another side plank. Keep on rolling, and you’ll feel the burn in your core and your obliques quite quickly. Watch the exercise in action, below.
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