Plank – the ultimate exercise to tighten and tone your stubborn core. Do you love the results you see from plank but hate doing the same move over and over again? We’ve rounded up over 10 ways to do plank from some of the best fitness instructors in Charlotte to help you mix it up and bring a challenge to your routine workout. 

Check out the photos below with instructions straight from instructors. 

Plank now, thank later 🙂


Tarole is a certified personal trainer as well as a teacher at the studio.  These are her tips for the perfect plank:
1) You always want to be in proper alignment. Stack the shoulders over the wrists (or shoulders over the elbows when in a forearm plank). Try to keep a soft gaze on the floor by having a neutral spine. 
2) Fire up the quads by squeezing your glutes (as if you have a quarter between those cheeks!) and pulling your knees up. One of the biggest challenges when holding a plank is keeping your hips and booty up.
3) Engage your core by pulling your belly in towards your spine. Think of what you would do if someone where about to sucker punch you in the gut.
4.) If the shoulders start to burn too much, you can rotate from hands to forearms, or side to side plank.  Just remember to always pull up from the core, ground into your hands, and stay strong in the shoulder blades and hips.
5.) ALWAYS remember to breathe!

ways to do plank

Tarole Harris (planking three different ways in our studio)

ways to do plank ways to do plank



ways to do plank

Bar Method Hamstring Plank: Polish your legs with this hamstring plank variation. Come into a regular plank and bend one knee in half to engage your hamstring. Keeping your knee bent, press your working leg upwards against the grip in your glutes for 20 tiny lifts, then change sides. Focus on keeping your knee below your hip and use the squeeze of your glutes to keep your abdominals pulled up and lower back stable. This tightens and tones the back of your thighs. So, instead of having a “bu-thigh”, you’ll gain a clearly separated butt and thigh!

ways to do plank

Bar Method Plank Rows: Create toned arms and a defined chest with plank rows! Come into a straight arm plank. Slowly lift one hand upwards towards your chest and with control lower it back down to the floor (two counts up, two counts down). Alternate hands to sculpt your upper arms and chest. Focus on keeping your shoulders and hips square to the floor and avoid having your body rock side to side. If your hand drops down too quickly modify by widening your feet apart or by coming down onto your knees.

ways to do plank

Bar Method Spider Plank: Whittle your middle with this challenging oblique trimmer! Come into a straight arm plank and pull one knee upwards towards your chest. Continue to pull your knee closer into your chest in tiny presses for 20 reps, then change sides. Focus on keeping your hips in line with your shoulders. To make it more challenging, pull your knee to the outside of your elbow and feel your obliques start melting away.



Take the perfect plank and push-up with you wherever you go with Hilliard Studio Method’s 8-minute ‘Power Plank + Push-up‘ video, along with 500+ minutes of streaming video to tighten and tone your whole body anywhere, anytime. 

L-Shaped Push-Up – Fire into your obliques and your bra fat area while you complete as many push-ups as you can in this L-shaped position. Copyright Wanda Koch photography.

Plank on the Ball – Advance your plank by putting your hands on a core ball. This decreases your stability and challenges your core and upper body more than having your hands steady on the floor.



“I emphasize that planks are not always about holding for the longest amount of time but more about burning out and fatiguing muscles. During my classes, I instruct people to pull in the belly button towards the spine, keep the body straight like a board, engage every single muscle and squeeze tight.” – Julie Apple

Plank on medicine ball – Rep & Ride instructor and personal trainer Julie Apple

Barre class, one arm plank – Barre instructor Roxanne Boylan

Bird Dog plank (one arm extended, opposite leg extended) – Rep & Ride instructor and personal trainer Caroline Hudson



Wall Plank
Start by kneeling in front of a wall with your feet facing the wall and hands on the ground. Slowly walk your feet up the wall, stopping once your body is completely straight from your shoulders to wall. Try holding this for 30 to 45 seconds.

Plank Drag With Feet on Towel
Grab a towel (if you’re on a wood or cement floor) or two paper plates (if you’re on carpet). Get into standard plank position with your feet on the towel/plates. Walk your hands forward 10 paces, dragging your legs behind you. The towel/plates should allow your feet to slide over the floor.

Side Plank with Knee Tuck
Start in a straight arm side plank, with your legs stacked. Tuck your bottom knee forward directly in front of your hip. Your body weight is now resting on your bottom hand and top foot. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Pushup Plank hold, very challenging. Keep shoulders away from your ears (down and back), shoulders ankles hips in line with spine, arms bent at sides 90 degrees, hold for 20-30 seconds.



Tips from Brie Hollingsworth, Senior FlyBarre Instructor

  • Drawing your stomach in as though you are bracing for a punch helps you visualize how you want to engage your muscles when in position.
  • Be mindful of not allowing your lower back to arch or to sag your hips.  Also, bring that booty down!  
  • Avoid picking up or dropping back behind your shoulders.  When in position of side plank, tilt your hips up to stack one hip on top of the other.  Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. Lifting a leg requires further engagement of your core, as well as strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. Picture lengthening and elongating your body as energy travels from the crown of your head down to your toes.
  • Strive to hold each plank position for a minimum of 30 seconds. It’s truly amazing how much muscle coordination is required without moving an inch.  Focusing on your core, your breath and your alignment helps you hold each position longer and stronger.

Want to learn how to perfect your plank? Visit and book a mat in Brie’s class!