Even if you’re the most disciplined lifter around, it can be tough to make the humble plank exercise fun. Many would even argue that nothing makes time go by more slowly than holding a plank. There’s also a common misconception that the indicator of a solid plank is simply being able to perform them for a much longer period of time – and that notion couldn’t be more wrong, particularly if you don’t use proper form. 

The static plank and other isometric exercises are anaerobic, meaning “without oxygen.” (And no, that doesn’t mean without breathing, although breathing is something people sometimes forget to do when holding an exercise!) Other anaerobic exercises like weight training, sprints or plyometrics tend to be done in short bursts because the body uses glycogen stores as its main energy source during these moves. That’s why you’ll find your muscles will start to fatigue and technique will break down no matter who you are — even if you already have great muscular endurance. 

For that reason, a 10-minute plank hold would serve little purpose in properly training the body during typical workouts. It makes more sense to keep planks shorter in duration and add variety depending on your skill level. That’s why the following plank progressions can be worth their weight in gold as you bring your plank game to the next level. Plus, they do a great job at killing the monotony of classic planks.