10 Ways to Progress Your Plank
If you’re a yogi, Pilates lover, or bootcamp class regular, I’m guessing you’ve gotten pretty good at doing a plank by now.
Planks have basically become an exercise standard with most group fitness classes incorporating them into regular training and some taking it to the next level with “plank challenges.”
Ever tried to hold 10-minute plank? It goes without saying that it’s not the most fun exercise.
Whether you love them or hate them though, planks are an amazing core exercise. Considered an “isometric” or static move, the plank works your entire abdominal core, including your lower back — and hits those shoulders too.
Exhausting at first, planks get progressively easier as you build your core strength. With practice, that 60-second finisher at the end of circuit training will soon become a breeze, and you’ll need to step up your game if you want to keep improving physically.
Aside from simply increasing the duration of your plank, there are tons of tweaks you can try to make the standard move more challenging.
Today, with the help of this adorable winter activewear from CALIA by Carrie Underwood, I’m bringing you ten of my favorite ways to progress your plank.
GET THE LOOK:
Try one of these advanced plank exercises the next time you’re feeling unchallenged in a group fitness class, or simply knock them out — all ten in a row — for the most intense core workout of your life!
1. Single-Leg Lift
Keeping your back flat, lift one leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
2. Single-Arm Lift
Keeping your back flat, lift one arm and extend it out in front of you. Try to keep your hips square to the ground and not to let the body swivel sideways. Hold for 15-30 seconds, repeat with the other arm.
3. Single-Leg, Single-Arm Lift
From plank, carefully lift one leg off the ground. Lift the opposite arm off the ground. Try to keep the entire body parallel. Hold as long as possible. Repeat on the other side.
4. Knee Taps
Keeping your back flat, alternate bringing each knee to tap the ground. Try not to let your hips drop too low or let your butt raise to high. Keep at it for about 1 minute.
5. Shoulder Taps
Making sure to keep the proper plank position, alternate tapping your shoulder with the opposite hand. Go back and forth as quickly as you can, trying to keep the pelvis steady. Keep at it for about 1 minute.
6. Up N’ Downs
Starting in plank, bring both your forearms down to the ground. Without letting your hips drops, push back up (one arm at a time) into plank again. Keep going, up and down, alternating which arm goes down first, for about 1 minute.
7. The Cliffhanger
Starting in a standard plank, walk your hands forward as far as you can. Hold the position as long as you can, keeping the hips raised.
8. The Rocket Launcher
Starting in a standard plank, push forward from your toes, bringing your shoulders past your wrists. Hold for a beat, them come back to center. Repeat, launching back and forth, for about a minute.
9. Core Canoes
Starting in a core hold (plank with your forearms on the ground), drop your hips to one side. Come back to starting position and drop them to the other side. Repeat, back and forth, for about 1 minute.
10. Single-Leg Pike to Plank to Knee Tap
Starting in plank, lift one leg. Press back into downward dog (pike) with leg still raised and as straight as possible. Hinge forward again, coming back to single-leg plank, then bring your knee to your elbow. Complete about 10 reps on one side, then repeat on the other leg.
Save this graphic on your phone to try it out later! >>
Weigh In: What’s your favorite advanced plank exercise?
*This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of CALIA. CALIA is available exclusively on online and at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to learn more about how you can “Stay the Path.”