10 Ways to Progress Your Plank

Advanced Plank - Knee to Elbow

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.

10 Moves to Progress Your Plank


Ruched Racer Back Tank ($44) // Printed Ruched Tights ($48)

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!

Single Leg Plank

1. Single-Leg Lift

Keeping your back flat, lift one leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Single Arm Plank

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.

Single Leg Single Arm Plank

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.

Plank Knee Taps

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.

Plank Shoulder Taps

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.

Plank Walk Ups

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.

Advanced Plank - The Cliffhanger

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.

Advanced Plank - The Rocket Launcher

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.

Core Canoes

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.

Single Leg Pike to Plank

Advanced Plank - Knee to Elbow

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! >>

10 Ways to Progress Your Plank

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.”


  1. Planks are one of my all time favorite exercises! I like to do an alternating side plank with a tricep pushup in between — set the timer for 60 seconds and see how many you can get in!
    Jennifer Dene recently posted…Banana Chocolate Ice CreamMy Profile

  2. ooh, I like that last variation with the pike! The other’s I have done but this one is new! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Heather Mason recently posted…Pesto Avocado PizzaMy Profile

  3. I love planks!!! I’m going to have to pin this one for my post-pregnancy tone up! xx
    Krissy @ Pretty Wee Things recently posted…Summer meal plan inspirationMy Profile

  4. love all the variations on the plank and the cute leggings 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Loving Lately-JanuaryMy Profile

  5. I’m a huge fan of planks, thanks for the upgrading tips!!

  6. Plank-lover here… will definitely have to share these tips with my ladies! Thank you!

  7. Loving these plank challenges Whitney
    My friends and I loved it 🙂

    • Whitney English says:

      Awesome!! What was your favorite move?!

      • Whitney,

        The Core Canoes were superb, I definitely loved it! It was very refreshing to do and it really puts a fairly amount of stress in my core muscles. And I really felt a something like a two way stretch in my back, that was really the highlight for me 🙂
        Thank you thank you for these great moves!


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