Planks are a core workout staple, but they can get boring unless you mix things up. That’s where Marina Santos and her 5-minute plank challenge comes to the rescue. The SoCal-based fitness influencer and creator of The 14 Day Reset shares her favorite muscle-crafting moves that only take five minutes. Trust us, that’s enough to feel the burn!
Cycle through the following five plank variations, completing each move for 50 seconds then resting for 10 seconds in between exercises.
MINUTE 1: Elbow Plank with Hip Rotation
“This is one of my favorite moves to work the obliques.” - Marina Santos
- Get into the traditional elbow plank position. Make sure your shoulders and elbows are aligned, core and legs are engaged, and your back isn’t sinking toward the floor.
- Rotate your hip to the right side toward the floor, then back to neutral position. Repeat the same move on the left side.
- Repeat this movement continuously alternating sides for 50 seconds.
Need a Modification? Try doing this exercise on your knees.
MINUTE 2: Inchworm Plank with Shoulder Taps
“This is a great exercise that helps with mobility, flexibility and shoulder strength.” - Marina Santos
- Start in a standing position with your legs straight. Bend forward and touch the floor with both hands—bending your knees, if needed.
- Walk your hands forward until you arrive in a traditional plank position. Make sure your shoulders and wrists are aligned, and your core and legs are engaged.
- Lift one of your hands to tap your opposite shoulder. Repeat the movement with the other hand.
- Walk your hands back toward your feet. While keeping your legs straight, stand up with a flat back.
- Continue repeating this movement for 50 seconds.
Need a Modification? Bend your knees and walk your hands forward into a downward dog position, instead of plank position.
MINUTE 3: Elbow Plank with Leg Lifts
“You will really feel your legs and booty burn on this one!” - Marina Santos
- Begin in an elbow plank position. Make sure your shoulders and elbows are aligned, your core and legs are engaged, and you’re not letting your back sink toward the floor.
- While straight, lift one of your legs toward the ceiling. Pause at the top, then bring the leg down and repeat on the other leg.
- Continue repeating this movement for 50 seconds, alternating legs.
Need a Modification? You can do this exercise while holding a knee plank.
MINUTE 4: Side Plank Hold
“Sometimes keeping it simple, like this go-to core move, can be the most satisfying.” - Marina Santos
- Lay on your side with your forearm flat on the floor, your elbow directly under your shoulder, and both legs extended out in a long line.
- While engaging your core, lift your hips off the floor while forming a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Hold this position for 25 seconds and then switch sides.
Need a Modification? For extra support, you can put the knee closest to the ground on the floor.
MINUTE 5: 10 Mountain Climbers with 1 Push-Up
“I love this exercise, not only because it works your entire body, but it also raises your heart rate to make sure you get some cardio.” - Marina Santos
- Start in a full plank position. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders, core and legs are engaged, and your back isn’t sinking toward the ground.
- Then bring your right knee toward your chest then back to neutral position. Repeat the same move with your left knee.
- Repeat this movement 10 times—5 on each leg.
- Once you've done 10 mountain climbers, do a triceps push-up by bending the elbows behind you and lowering your chest toward the floor.
- Keep your upper arms tight to your body, so your elbows are touching your ribs on both sides. Lift yourself back up to a plank position by straightening your arms.
- Continue repeating this combination for 50 seconds.
Need a Modification? To increase the challenge, speed up your mountain climbers while maintaining proper form. To make it easier, lower your knees on the ground for for the triceps push-up.
Pro Tip: Stash a pair of fitness gloves (like the ones found in the April Ellie box) in your gym bag to help support the weight on your hands, and to improve your grip power for planks. Gloves are a true MVP, especially during your most sweaty sessions, says Marina. Plus, they’ll protect your hands on rougher surfaces during those outdoor workouts.