8 Weighted Planks Alternatives

Looking for effective alternatives to traditional planks with added weight? Look no further! In this article, we explore 8 weighted plank alternatives that will help enhance your strength, stability, and core conditioning.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diversify your workout routine with these 8 weighted plank alternatives
  • Target your core muscles for improved strength, stability, and performance
  • Choose from exercises like the Dead Bug, Bird Dog, Crunches, Reverse Crunches, Decline Sit-Ups, Ab Roll-Outs, Side Plank, Cable Rope Crunches, Leg Raises, and Cable Wood-Chop
  • Perform these exercises correctly with step-by-step instructions and tips for proper form
  • Experience a more engaging and functional workout that challenges your core

The Dead Bug: A Fantastic Alternative Exercise for Planks with Weights

The Dead Bug is a fantastic alternative exercise for planks with weights, targeting the core muscles and enhancing stability. This exercise is highly effective in engaging the deep abdominal muscles, promoting proper spinal alignment, and improving overall core strength.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs bent at a 90-degree angle, knees stacked above your hips.
  2. Engage your core to press your lower back into the floor and ensure proper spinal alignment.
  3. Slowly lower your right arm and left leg simultaneously towards the floor, maintaining control and keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Avoid arching your back or allowing your lower back to lift off the floor.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side, alternating sides for the desired number of repetitions.

Remember to breathe throughout the exercise, exhaling as you lower your arm and leg, and inhaling as you return to the starting position. Gradually increase the number of repetitions as your core strength improves.

The Dead Bug offers a dynamic challenge to your core muscles and can be easily modified to suit different fitness levels. For added difficulty, you can incorporate weights by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball in your hands. This exercise can be performed at home or in the gym, making it a versatile option for individuals seeking diverse plank alternatives.

Benefits of The Dead Bug Exercise
Targets the deep abdominal muscles
Enhances core strength and stability
Promotes proper spinal alignment
Improves coordination and balance

So, if you’re looking for an alternative to traditional planks with weights, give The Dead Bug a try. It’s a highly effective exercise that challenges your core muscles, enhances stability, and contributes to overall strength and fitness.

Bird Dog

Looking for a challenging exercise to replace weighted planks? The Bird Dog is an excellent choice that targets multiple muscle groups and improves core strength. Here’s how to perform it correctly:

  1. Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Engage your core and extend your right arm straight ahead while simultaneously extending your left leg straight back.
  3. Keep your hips level and avoid rotating or tilting them.
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds while maintaining a stable core and then return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement on the opposite side, extending your left arm and right leg.

The Bird Dog exercise can be modified to increase the challenge. For added intensity, you can incorporate resistance by using ankle weights or resistance bands. You can also try lifting your extended arm and leg higher to engage the muscles even more.

Incorporating the Bird Dog exercise into your workout routine can help enhance core stability, improve posture, and build overall strength. It also targets the back muscles, glutes, and shoulders, making it a well-rounded exercise option for anyone looking to diversify their plank routine with weights.

Benefits of Bird Dog Instructions
Targets multiple muscle groups Start on all fours, extend opposite arm and leg, hold, and repeat
Improves core strength and stability Keep hips level and engage core throughout the movement
Enhances postural alignment Avoid rotating or tilting hips; maintain a neutral spine
Can be modified for added challenge Use ankle weights or resistance bands, increase range of motion

Crunches and Reverse Crunches

Crunches and reverse crunches are powerful weighted plank variations that specifically target the core muscles, helping to enhance core strength and stability. These exercises can be performed using dumbbells, a weighted plate, or a medicine ball to add an extra challenge to your plank routine. The primary focus of these exercises is the rectus abdominis, which is responsible for flexing the spine and creating that coveted six-pack look.

To perform crunches, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place the weight of your choice on your chest, crossing your arms to secure it in place. Engage your core and lift your upper body off the ground, curling towards your knees. Exhale as you crunch up, keeping your neck relaxed and avoiding any strain. Slowly lower back down to complete one repetition.

Reverse crunches, on the other hand, target the lower abdominal muscles. Start by lying on your back with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor, and the weight positioned between your feet or secured behind your knees. With your hands by your side for support, engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, bringing your knees towards your chest. Pause at the top for a moment and then slowly lower your legs back down, maintaining control throughout the movement.

Remember, proper form is crucial to get the most out of these exercises and minimize the risk of injury. Keep your movements controlled and focus on engaging your core muscles throughout each repetition. As with any exercise, start with a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form. Gradually increase the weight as you become stronger and more comfortable with the movements.

Exercise Primary Muscles Targeted Equipment
Crunches Rectus Abdominis Dumbbells, Weighted Plate, or Medicine Ball
Reverse Crunches Lower Abdominals Dumbbells, Weighted Plate, or Medicine Ball

Decline Sit-Ups: A Challenging Alternative to Traditional Planks with Added Weight

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional planks with added weight, decline sit-ups offer a challenging variation that engages the core. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors, helping to strengthen and tone these muscles. Additionally, decline sit-ups are a functional exercise that mimics real-life movements, making them great for overall core stability and balance.

To perform decline sit-ups correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Start by lying face-up on a decline bench with your feet secured at the top.
  2. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the sides.
  3. Engage your core and lift your torso towards your thighs, keeping your back straight and your neck relaxed.
  4. Slowly lower your torso back down to the starting position, controlling the movement.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

During decline sit-ups, it’s important to maintain proper form and avoid pulling on your neck with your hands. Focus on using your core muscles to initiate the movement and keep your breathing steady throughout. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the difficulty by holding a weight plate or medicine ball against your chest.

By incorporating decline sit-ups into your workout routine as an alternative to traditional weighted planks, you can challenge your core muscles in new ways and continue to make progress towards your fitness goals. Remember to listen to your body and start with a weight and level of difficulty that is appropriate for your fitness level.

Exercise Main Muscles Targeted
Decline Sit-Ups Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Hip Flexors

Ab Roll-Outs

Ab roll-outs are an intense weighted plank variation that takes core training to the next level, providing a challenging workout for your abdominal muscles. This exercise targets not only your rectus abdominis, but also your obliques and deep core muscles, helping improve overall core strength and stability.

To perform ab roll-outs correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Kneel on a mat or soft surface, with the ab roller positioned in front of you.
  2. Place your hands on the ab roller handles, shoulder-width apart, and engage your core muscles.
  3. Slowly roll the ab roller forward, extending your arms in front of you while maintaining a straight line from your head to your knees.
  4. Pause briefly in the fully extended position, feeling the tension in your core.
  5. Engage your core muscles and roll the ab roller back towards your knees, returning to the starting position with control.

It’s crucial to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. Avoid overarching your lower back or allowing your hips to sag. Focus on engaging your core muscles and using them to control the movement.

As you become more comfortable with ab roll-outs, you can increase the difficulty by extending the range of motion or using a weight vest for added resistance. Remember to progress gradually and listen to your body to prevent injury.

Ab roll-outs are just one of the many weighted plank variations that can challenge your core and enhance your overall fitness. Including a variety of exercises in your workout routine not only keeps things interesting but also ensures that you are targeting all the different muscles in your core. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast, these alternatives offer endless possibilities for improving strength, stability, and performance.

Exercise Main Muscles Targeted Equipment Needed
Ab Roll-Outs Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Deep Core Muscles Ab Roller

Section 7: Side Plank

If you’re looking for a different exercise to replace weighted planks, the side plank is a fantastic option that targets the obliques and helps improve core stability. Here’s how to perform this exercise correctly:

  1. Start by lying on your side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other. Rest your forearm on the ground, perpendicular to your body, with your elbow directly under your shoulder.
  2. Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your feet. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line without sagging or rotating.
  3. Hold this position for the desired amount of time, typically between 30 seconds to a minute. Remember to breathe steadily throughout the exercise.
  4. Repeat on the other side, ensuring equal time on each side to maintain balance and symmetry.

The side plank offers several variations to increase the challenge or target specific muscle groups. You can lift the top leg or arm, add a hip dip to engage the obliques even more, or perform the exercise on an unstable surface like a Bosu ball to further challenge your stability.

Adding the side plank to your workout routine provides a dynamic and effective alternative to traditional weighted planks. Along with targeting the core muscles, side planks also help improve hip and shoulder stability, enhance overall balance, and promote better posture.

Benefits of Side Plank:

  • Targets the obliques, helping to define and strengthen the waistline.
  • Improves core stability and balance, enhancing performance in other exercises and activities.
  • Engages the muscles of the hips, shoulders, and back, promoting overall strength and stability in these areas.
  • Can be modified and progressed to match various fitness levels and goals.
Exercise Main Muscles Worked
Side Plank Obliques, Core, Hips, Shoulders

Cable Rope Crunches and Leg Raises

Cable rope crunches and leg raises are excellent alternatives to weighted planks that can help you build a stronger core. These exercises target different muscle groups and provide a dynamic and engaging workout experience. Here’s how to perform these exercises correctly:

  1. Cable Rope Crunches: Attach a rope to a cable machine at a high setting. Stand facing away from the machine, grab the rope, and position it behind your head. With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the waist while keeping your back straight, and contract your core as you bring your elbows towards your knees. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.
  2. Leg Raises: Set up on a dip station or grab onto a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Hang with your arms fully extended and engage your core. Raise your legs by flexing your hips and pulling your knees towards your chest. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position without swinging or using momentum. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

When performing these exercises, it’s important to maintain proper form and technique to maximize their effectiveness. Keep the movements controlled and avoid using momentum to ensure that your core muscles are doing the work.

Adding these cable exercises to your routine can help you develop a stronger core, improve stability, and increase overall performance. They provide a challenging workout that can be tailored to your fitness level by adjusting the weight or resistance on the cable machine. Remember to start with a weight or resistance level that allows you to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

Exercise Primary Muscles Targeted Benefits
Cable Rope Crunches Rectus Abdominis, Obliques Core strength, improved stability, spinal flexion
Leg Raises Rectus Abdominis, Hip Flexors Core strength, improved hip mobility, lower abdominal development

Integrating cable rope crunches and leg raises into your core training routine offers a challenging and effective way to strengthen your core. These exercises provide variety, engage multiple muscle groups, and can be adapted to suit your fitness level. By incorporating them into your workouts, you’ll be on your way to achieving a strong and stable core.

Cable Wood-Chop: A Weighted Plank Alternative for a Diverse Workout Routine

If you’re looking to diversify your workout routine, the cable wood-chop is a weighted plank alternative that engages multiple muscle groups and enhances overall core strength. This exercise is highly effective in developing stability, power, and rotational strength, making it a valuable addition to any fitness regimen.

How to Perform the Cable Wood-Chop

To perform the cable wood-chop exercise correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Start by setting the cable pulley at a height that allows you to assume a strong and stable stance.
  2. Stand perpendicular to the cable machine, with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  3. Hold the handle with both hands, palms facing down, and arms fully extended in front of you.
  4. Engage your core muscles and maintain a straight back throughout the movement.
  5. Initiate the exercise by rotating your torso away from the cable machine, keeping your arms extended and following the direction of the movement.
  6. As you rotate, the handle should travel diagonally across your body towards the opposite hip.
  7. Pause briefly at the end of the movement, feeling the contraction in your core and oblique muscles.
  8. Slowly return to the starting position by reversing the movement, maintaining control and stability.
  9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides to work both the left and right oblique muscles evenly.

The cable wood-chop exercise offers various resistance options, allowing you to adjust the weight according to your fitness level and goals. Start with a lighter weight and focus on mastering the proper form before gradually increasing the resistance.

Remember to breathe throughout the exercise, inhaling during the setup and exhaling during the contraction phase. Maintain a controlled and smooth movement to maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of injury.

Benefits of Cable Wood-Chop
Engages multiple muscle groups, including the core, shoulders, back, and hips
Enhances rotational strength and power
Improves core stability and balance
Increases functional strength for everyday movements and sports performance
Offers a versatile exercise that can be modified for different fitness levels

“The cable wood-chop is a fantastic exercise for targeting the core and developing rotational strength. It engages the muscles in a functional way, mimicking movements that occur in sports and daily activities. Adding this exercise to your workout routine will not only improve your core strength but also enhance your overall performance and movement quality.” – Fitness Expert


In conclusion, incorporating weighted plank alternatives into your workout routine is a great way to enhance core strength, stability, and overall fitness. By diversifying your exercises with these variations, you can target different muscle groups and achieve a stronger and more functional core.

The 8 weighted plank alternatives mentioned – the Dead Bug, Bird Dog, Crunches, Reverse Crunches, Decline Sit-Ups, Ab Roll-Outs, Side Plank, Cable Rope Crunches, Leg Raises, and Cable Wood-Chop – offer a diverse range of options depending on your goals, physical abilities, and equipment availability.

These exercises are not only beneficial for improving core strength but also for improving stability, movement, performance, and injury prevention. Whether you prefer to workout at home or in the gym, these exercises can be easily incorporated into your routine.

Each exercise has been explained in detail, providing step-by-step instructions on how to perform them correctly, along with tips for proper form and progression. The variations offered by these plank alternatives make for a more engaging and functional workout, targeting different muscle groups and challenging athletes and fitness enthusiasts.


Can these plank alternatives be done at home or only in the gym?

These plank alternatives can be done both at home and in the gym. They require minimal equipment, making them accessible for home workouts. However, some exercises may require gym equipment such as cables or a decline bench.

What are the benefits of doing these plank alternatives?

These plank alternatives target the core muscles and provide benefits such as improved stability, movement, performance, and injury prevention. They help develop a strong core, which is essential for various activities and exercises.

Are these exercises suitable for all fitness levels?

These exercises can be modified to suit different fitness levels. Beginners can start with variations that are less challenging, while more advanced individuals can progress to more difficult variations to continue challenging their core muscles.

How often should I do these plank alternatives?

The frequency of doing these plank alternatives depends on individual goals and fitness levels. It is recommended to include core exercises in your workout routine at least 2-3 times per week for optimal results.

Are there any safety considerations when performing these exercises?

It is important to maintain proper form and technique when performing these exercises. Start with lighter weights or bodyweight variations to focus on mastering the correct form before progressing to heavier weights or more challenging variations. If you have any existing medical conditions or injuries, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

How can I progress with these plank alternatives?

To progress with these plank alternatives, you can increase the weight, repetitions, or sets. You can also modify the exercise by adding instability, such as using a stability ball or BOSU ball. Gradually challenging yourself and increasing the intensity will help you continue to strengthen your core muscles.

Can these plank alternatives help with weight loss?

These exercises primarily target the core muscles and may not directly contribute to weight loss. However, incorporating these exercises into a well-rounded workout routine can help increase overall calorie burn and improve overall body composition, which can indirectly support weight loss goals.

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