How to Do Dynamic Planks: 9 Bodyweight Exercises to Spice Things Up

man doing side planks

Sick of holding a plank in a static position? Why don’t you try one of these dynamic plank variations? Exercising with your own bodyweight is a lot of fun and gets you in great shape.

What is a forearm plank?

The plank is an exercise that uses your own bodyweight. It specifically trains your abs and core muscles. In a plank, get on all fours with your forearms on the mat parallel to each other. Your fingers are pointing slightly inward; stretch your legs out straight behind you. Keep your legs and upper body in a straight line, your head bent down at a slight angle, as an extension of your spine. Hold this position for several seconds or even minutes if you prefer. Watch this video to see how to do a plank right:

What are dynamic planks?

In this version of the plank, you’re not just holding a plank, you’re actually moving. All of these exercises are plank-based movements and they give the rest of the muscles in your body some extra work as well. Yes, they’re still going to give you a strong core and those sexy abs, but perhaps they’ll seem a little less tedious than trying not to move like in a regular plank.


1. Plank to down dog

girl doing plank to down dog

This plank variation is perfect for checking in with your body, especially the shoulders, hamstrings and calves. Make sure that when you lower your body down into the plank position, your feet, hips and shoulders are in a line (no sinking hips).

2. Side plank oblique crunch

girl doing side plank oblique crunch

Your oblique muscles run along the side of your stomach and wrap around your lower back. You cannot talk about shredded or six pack abs without mentioning the obliques. This move targets the obliques directly and really challenges your stability and control. Make sure your body is completely straight (i.e. if someone was looking at you from above, you would look like a straight line not like a V-shape with the butt pushed back).

3. Side plank knee to elbow

Girl doing side plank knee to elbow

As if holding a side plank wasn’t enough, time to crunch it out! It’s not necessary to perform this move super fast. Slow and controlled can really do the trick. Be sure to exhale all the way on the crunch. Can you get your knee to touch your elbow? If not, go as far as you can.

4. Low plank twist

Girl doing low plank twist

Pretend like you’re wringing out your abs like a wet dish towel. Remember that your hip should move towards the ground but not touch it. Be sure to maintain proper plank form and don’t let your hips sink down when performing the twist. You’ll get the most out of the move and the best range of motion when you keep your feet, hips and shoulders in a line.

5. Extended inchworm

Girl doing extended inchworm

Get those hands out beyond your shoulders for a couple extra steps – you can do it! You’ll really feel your upper abs activate when you go just a little bit further. You don’t have to take giant steps with your hands, a little bit goes a long way.

6. Side plank taps

Girl doing side plank taps

Working in some hip rotation and upper body stabilization while challenging the abs – this one is a winner! Don’t let that foot slam down on the ground, try to make the tap as quiet as possible. Don’t forget that your hand should be right underneath your shoulder.

7. High plank shoulder taps

Girl doing high plank shoulder taps

During this variation, try to keep the rest of your body still while tapping your shoulders. When you rock from side to side and use momentum, your abs don’t have to work as hard.

8. Ultimate plank jacks

Girl doing ultimate plank jacks

This bodyweight exercise is a cardio and coordination bomb. This move is an amazing fat burner. The quicker you move, the easier it is. If you let all the weight come down with your feet, it’s actually much more exhausting. Do your best to complete them as fast and as controlled as possible.

9. Reverse inchworm

Girl doing reverse inchworm

Your hands stay in place and your feet do the walking. Don’t worry if you cannot walk your feet all the way to your hands, go as far as you can. But, be sure to really lift your hips up (pretend like someone is pulling you by a string up from your tailbone) in order to best challenge your abs and inch your feet closer to your hands.

Try out dynamic planks today! And to add more variety to your workout, check out these 12 squat variations  you can add to your leg day routine.


Lunden Souza Lunden Souza is an Online Fitness & Lifestyle Transformation Coach. She helps people all over the world create a sustainable healthy lifestyle, so they'll never have to "start over" again! Connect with @lifelikelunden for real-life strategies to get on track for long-term health in both body and mind. View all posts by Lunden Souza