5 Plank Variations to Help Build a Strong Core 5 Plank Variations to Help Build a Strong Core Fitness Together Kelley Vargo Mar 10, 2017 Variation 1: Alternating Hip Touches (Rainbow Planks) This variation targets the oblique muscles. Begin in the standard plank position and then rotate the hips to one side, aiming to touch the floor. Next, rotate the hips to the opposite side and touch the floor. Variation 2: Up Downs This exercise gets the heart rate up. Begin in the standard plank position on a mat. Come up onto the right hand and the left hand, and then return down to the right forearm and then the left forearm. Repeat. Variation 3: Hip Raises Being in the standard plank position and then elevate the hips, making an inverted V or a triangle. Keep the muscles engaged. Once the hips are at the highest point, lower back down to the standard plank position. Variation 4: Knee to Elbow Begin in a high plank. Bring the left knee across the body to try and touch the right elbow. Return to the starting position and then bring the right knee to touch the left elbow. . Aim to keep all muscle groups engaged. Continue to alternate left and right. Variation 5: Side Plank Assume a side plank position on the right forearm and the right foot (you can stack the left foot on top of the right or position it slightly behind the right foot to help with balance). Aim to have the body in a straight line from shoulder to ankles. For an additional challenge, lower the hips to the floor and then lift the hips back up to the beginning position. Complete the same movements on the left side.