4 Core Exercises That Are Better Than Regular Planks

Everyone knows how much I LOVE planks!

Planks are great, but most people tend to just dangle in them and remain static, which does not optimize the results. Even when performed correctly, static planks only work one section of your core muscles.

Don’t get me wrong, in order to perform the below listed exercises, you MUST master the plank.

However, to most effectively strengthen your core, you have to work all of your core muscles:

  • Rectus Abdominus
  • Internal and External Obliques
  • Transversus Abdominis
  • Glut Muscles
  • Lumbar Parapsinals

Here are four exercises better than regular planks:

1.Rowing Machine Rollouts


  • Stand in front of a rowing machine and bend forward at the waist to place your palms on the seat of the machine.
  • From here, inhale through your nose and, keeping your arms relatively relaxed, extend them in front of you so that your body lowers into a plank position.
  • Once your body forms a straight line from your head to heels, forcefully exhale and squeeze your core to fold your arms and torso back toward your legs.

2.Single-Arm Plank + Single-Arm Banded Row


  • Get in a plank on the floor, a few feet away from the end of a secured resistance band.
  • Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
  • With your feet spread hip-width apart and your hands spread shoulder-width apart and just in front of your face, brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  • Grab the end of the resistance band with one hand and, keeping your body and torso stable, row the band toward your chest.
  • Perform all reps, then switch sides.

3. Stability Ball Knee Tucks


  • Start in a push-up position with your feet up on the ball.
  • Make sure that you engage your core and raise your hips so your back is flat before you begin.
  • Keep your back flat and try not to raise your hips as you draw your knees into your chest.
  • Extend both legs back out to the starting position and repeat.

4. Quadruped Bird Dog + Single-Arm Row


  • Get on your hands and knees on a bench.
  • Grab a dumbbell with one hand, and lift and extend the leg of the same side behind you so that it is parallel to the floor.
  • Keeping your core braced, row the dumbbell up toward your ribcage.
  • Do not allow your back to hyperextend or body to twist.
  • Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell toward the bench.
  • Repeat all reps, then switch sides.


  1. Jon Salony says:

    Dr. Singh,

    Thanks very much for the advice! I have been doing core at the gym since you suggested it for back pain and strengthening core. I feel a lot better and confident that I will not re-injure myself. I try to alternate core exercises with cardio as part of my regimen.


  2. Riley Allen says:


    I just wanted to let you know that I think your newsletters are excellent. I hope the public realizes how valuable the information is, particularly, considering it is coming from such a skilled physician located at such a respected institution. And, it’s free!

    I hope you are doing well. Keep up the great work.



  3. Julienne says:

    These exercises are great. I fell face forward while at training in Lackland AFB in August 2012 and had a car accident while on duty outside of a NY base in June 2015. I have had increasing pain since. The military still has not documented these in my medical file or provided PT. The bench exercise and Ball have strengthened my core, neck, and back and helped with pain management.

    Thanks for the pointers Dr. Jasper Ricky Singh, MD.

  4. Karen says:

    I am a professional dancer teacher educator researcher. I’m part of a morning walking squad after a left anterior hip replacement that was a success October 17, 2015. I will send this via email to the squad. It’s called Green Gym at Morningside Park in Harlem. Right now we meet at 6 a.m. Mon. – Tues. – Friday. It’s an extension fitness program from Nancercize in The Parks by Nancy Bruning. We started last July at 7 a.m. The same days of the week. We use the terrain and park benches in an exercise design that takes about an hour. On the off days we refer to our individual alternate plans. Exercise Bites like this one allows one to add intensity at their
    own pace. Thank you for the pictures and reasoning.

    Cell: 347-404-2789

  5. L. Jake says:

    Tummy tuck ol’school style..One that you can appreciate with a sense of accomplishment!!! And it’s free. ; )

  6. Freddie Cheng says:

    Is there anything I can do without all the machinery / props ?

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