Plank jacks fire up your abs - fast! - and strengthen your body from top to bottom. This classic move builds serious core strength to help you look fabulous, and more importantly, alleviate back and neck pain.
Even better: Plank jacks work for all fitness levels, and you don’t need a single piece of equipment! You can do plank jacks just about anywhere: home, a hotel room, the gym, you name it.
Here are five different ways you can use this move in your routine. No matter your fitness level, you’ll find a plank jack variation for you.
Start with the version that offers you a slight challenge, do 8 to 10 good reps, and try to advance to a more advanced version every few weeks. You’ll see yourself getting stronger with every progression.
Beginners: Try the basic move, side plank tap. You’ll really feel this in your abs and shoulders. As you get stronger, add a jack or squat to the mix. You’ll ramp up the intensity to improve your cardiovascular system and burn more calories.
Want more? For a firmer butt and thighs, work your way up to the most advanced version, a plank jack to squat jump. The jump incorporates plyometric training to increase strength and power throughout your whole body.
1. Plant Side Tap
Start in plank position, with your forearms on the ground, shoulder-width apart, parallel to one another. Dig your toes into the ground and lift your butt to where your shoulders line up with your hips. Draw your navel toward your spine to tighten your abs as you step your right foot out to the right, and back to center. Repeat with your left leg. Do 8-10 reps total.
2. Plank Jack
Start in high plank position with your arms extended directly underneath your shoulders. Dig your toes into the ground and lift your butt to where your shoulders line up with your hips. Keep your abs tight as you jump both legs out and back to center. Do 8-10 reps.
3. Plank Jack to Frog
Start in high plank position and perform one plank jack. Then, lift your hips and hop both legs towards your hands, landing gently on your toes with knees bent. Hop back to high plank. Do 8-10 reps.
4. Plank Jack to Squat Thrust
Start in high plank position and perform one plank jack. Then, lift your hips and hop both legs towards your hands, landing flat on your feet. Lift your hands and torso, pause, and lower your hands to the mat. Hop back to high plank. Do 8-10 reps.
5. Plank Jack to Squat Jump
Start in high plank position and perform one plank jack. Then, lift your hips and hop both legs towards your hands. Lift your hands and torso, and push off your heels to explode up. Land flat on your feet in a squat, return your hands to the floor, and hop your legs back into high plank. Do 8-10 reps.