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9 ways to make the plank harder

The plank is a very well known core exercise. It’s definitely a great exercise for building core and shoulder strength

But let’s face it, performing a 5 minute plank hold is about as exciting as watching paint dry. And, after a point it becomes less of a strength exercise and much more of an endurance exercise anyway. 

In this article I am going to show you 9 ways to level up your plank game.


Wait, what’s wrong with the regular front plank?

There is nothing wrong with the front plank.

It is a great exercise.

The problem is the duration that people hold the front plank. There is nothing really cool about holding a plank for 3 minutes straight.

Why is that?

The problem with long duration planks is they become less of a core stability exercise and more of a “how long can I hang my skeleton on my muscles while I stare at the floor” exercise. Good intention, poor execution.

A better variation of the front plank is the RKC plank (Russian Kettlebell Challenge).

The RKC plank is focused on generating maximum tension for a short duration. Or put another way high intensity of effort over a short time. The goal is to fire every available muscle, from your calf’s all the way to your forearms.

When done properly holding an RKC front plank for 10-20 should seem torturous.

Don’t worry if you start shaking. Shaking implies that a high amount of tension is being generated. Tension is good. Don’t fear the shakes.

•Regular front plank (after a few minutes this just becomes my muscles hanging on my skeleton. Not so awesome.)

•RKC style plank (maximum tension baby. After 20 seconds of this I’m trying desperately not to evacuate my bowels.)
←(hard to see in this video but I am shaking like crazy here)

9 ways to make the plank harder

Turning your regular front plank into the RKC style plank is progression # 1.

Once you get the hang of generating maximum tension for 10-20 seconds move on to the following progressions. These are in no particular order, but do keep these guidelines in mind:

•2 points of contact is more challenging than 3 points of contact 

•Lifting an arm is more challenging than lifting a leg

•Wider feet is easier than narrow feet

•Adding weight is challenging

•Adding movement is challenging

•Adding weight + movement is even more challenging


•Forearm to hand to Forearm plank  (up and down movement)


•Alternating arm extended plank (3 points of contact)

•Lateral shoulder tap plank (3 points of contact + anti-rotation strength)


•Side shuffle plank walk (lateral movement + core stability)


 •Alternating two point plank (2 points of contact) 

•Ab-wheel rollout (anti-extension strength)


•Dumbbell renegade row (3 points of contact + weight)

•Three point plank + dumbbell row (3 points of contact + weight)

Final thoughts on the 9 ways to make the plank harder

As we have established, the plank is an awesome exercise.

From building a strong core to helping bulletproof your back, the plank (and it’s variations) should find a way into your workout program.

But, whatever the variation used the key points still remain the same…

•Maintain a tight stomach (braced core)
•Squeeze the butt cheeks
•Keep the supporting shoulder (s), hand (s), and wrist (s) in one straight line.

Happy planking.


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