Once you master the classic plank, it may seem boring after some time. But a little creativity is enough to fight boredom and make planking a challenge again. Add some dynamic elements, experiment with levels, or even add some additional weights. Check these 7 ideas on upgrading plank to work your core and much more.

1. Single Arm/Leg Plank

A simple change that makes a huge difference. Start with lifting one leg and try to hold the plank on three points of support. Then, switch the legs. Remember that lifting one leg you’re putting more pressure to one side of your body. That’s why it’s important to switch the legs and hold the for the same amount of time for both sides.

You can also lift one arm at a time – extend it forward. Don’t forget to switch sides. When you master the one-arm plank, you can mix the two and lift the right leg and the left arm at the same time. That’s quite a challenge, but definitely worth trying.

2. Reverse Plank with Kicks

Another simple way for some variety in planking is to flip over to your back. You can start from the high reverse plank, supporting the upper body on straight arms, hand on the floor. If that’s too easy, go for the low plank on your forearms. When you master the static position, you can add some leg kicks, pull one knee towards your chest and go back down. You can also raise a straight leg towards the ceiling.

3. Side Plank (with Dips)

We’ve got front and back, so it’s time for the sides. Not only great for the side muscles’ endurance, but also for shaping. Lie on your side, lean on your forearm against the floor. Put the top leg in front of the bottom one, or one on the other. Lift your hips up so that the whole body is supported only on the elbow and the feet.

When you master the static hold, you can add some hip dips. Lower the hips, but don’t let them touch the floor. Go back up and repeat.

4. Elevated Plank on a Chair

A great way to put some more pressure on the upper or the lower body, depending on which sideyou are going to elevate. Start with your arms on the chair, keep the whole body in one line. You can also put the legs on the chair.

5. Elevated Plank on a Swiss Ball

Another stage after the chair is the Swiss ball. This one provides an unstable environment, so it’s harder to hold the plank still – now it’s not only about strength, but also about balance. Again, start with your forearms on the ball and then try the other way round. Remember to keep your core braced, squeeze your glutes and flex the leg muscles. The whole body should be tense. Breathe calmly all the time.

6. Thread the Needle

That’s a great complex movement to add to the chair or the ball elevated plank. It engages also theobliques, glutes, and thighs – it’s a higher level of difficulty. You can also do this one by the bed, an armchair, or a sofa.

Get into the high plank position with your feet on the sofa or the bed. Pull your right knee towards your chest, straighten the right leg by kicking to the left. Twist the waist as you’re kicking. Go back and repeat with the other leg. When you master thread-the-needle on a stable surface, go for the Swiss ball.

7. Plank with Some Additional Weights

This is the version for advanced plankers. And please don’t start with 20 lbs – even a little additional weight will make this exercise much more effortful. Put the weight in the middle of your back – not too high or too low. Remember that you aim at strengthening the core. Placing the load on your back might be difficult, so it’s best to ask someone for help. If you can’t hole for 10 seconds, it means you took too much weight, so reduce.

Remember that one exercise may be modified in a number of ways. Introduce some variety to your workout for the sense of challenge. You can have fun and learn something new at the same time. Such little upgrades boost motivation more than you could expect. Stay strong!

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.