Physical Pointers

Spice Up Your Plank

Živa Dvoršak

June 15, 2021

Planks are one of the most effective core strengthening exercises that require little space and practically no equipment. The only goal is to make a plank out of your body – a long and solid structure. Even though the exercise is very challenging, its lack of movement quickly makes us feel bored. To make it less mundane, we can switch between standard longer sets and twice the short ones. However, once you can hold the standard plank (either the lower version with your forearms on the floor or the higher one with merely your hands on the floor) easily for 60 seconds, it’s time to spice it up. If you’re not familiar with how to make the standard plank correctly, check it out here.

To add intensity to your standard plank, lift one leg or arm off the floor. Maintain your focus on pushing the floor away and engaging your abs the whole time. Breathe deeply. 

A girl doing four various types of plank lifting her arms and legs
Plank with arm/leg lifted

Side Plank

To reach your overall core strength, the side plank is definitely worth including. Here, you only support yourself using one side of your body; however, you still want to create a stable, neutral spine position. The simplest version is having your forearm on the floor and bringing the upper leg slightly in front of the lower one to help you stabilize. Once you no longer have the feeling of wobbling around, bring your upper leg on top of the lower one. When this gets easy enough, lift the top leg without twisting your torso or curling your lower back. From here on, you can progress by raising your body from the forearm to the hand. Make sure that your hand and wrist are directly below your shoulder, your fingers wide apart, and that you’re pushing the floor away with them to avoid unnecessary wrist pain or even injury. No matter which version you do, squeeze your abs the entire time and keep your neck and head straight.

A girl doing four versions of side plank
Side plank

Unstable Plank

To spice up both standard and side planks, place your forearms (or feet) on some unstable surface, such as a balance board or BOSU ball. If you don’t have those at home, you can simply use pillows.

A girl doing plank on BOSU ball
Plank on a BOSU ball

An Easy Version of Plank

What about if even the standard plank is too difficult? Don’t worry; there are a few modifications you can do for a start. If you are experiencing wrist pain, only do lower plank on your forearms. If proper positioning is hard to maintain or you feel pain in your lower back, switch support from your toes to your knees.


A girl doing plank on her knees
Plank on knees

No matter how you look at it, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to get on the floor and do it. At Aiming Art, we firmly believe that several steps and approaches are required to succeed on the shooting line. Plank is one of those steps worth doing.


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