How to Make Your Planks Even More Effective

Planks are one of the most effective exercises because they fire up so many muscles at once, especially the core and upper body. You can make them even harder – you know you want to! – by adding a pair of dumbbells. Grab a pair of three- to 10-pounders and throw these moves into your next routine. Since plank position can be tough on the wrists, alternate these plank variations with moves that give your hands a break, such as squats or lunges.

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Flip Your Burpee on Its Head to Work Your Abs Even More

Whether you love (or hate) the classic burpee, you can’t argue that it’s a great cardio move that works every muscle. Here’s a playful variation to try that targets the core big time – it’s so fun your abs won’t even realize they’re getting majorly ripped. And because it’s still a burpee, your legs and butt will get an equally good workout.

  1. Begin standing with the arms extended overhead.
  2. Bend the knees and, in a controlled motion, lower your tush all the way to the floor.
  3. Roll onto your back, drawing your knees toward your face.
  4. Use momentum to kick forward, landing on the feet.
  5. Rise to stand, and do an explosive jump straight up, getting as much height as you can. Remember to keep your elbows bent and palms off the floor while you rise so you’re using your core muscles and not your hands to help you get up.

Start off rolling through 10 in a row, or if you’re ready to step it up, try this challenge: see how many reverse burpees you can do safely and effectively in one minute.

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