Core Corner: Plank with Knee to Elbow


If you’ve caught the fever and have signed up for a trail race on single-track trail or one of the many mud and obstacle-course races, then core stability will be the key to a successful race. Plank, as a basic exercise, is excellent for [static] full-body stability.

When we increase the difficulty by bringing one foot off the ground [dynamic], we ask for more strength from the shoulder girdle and more power from the standing leg. This will improve your ability to stabilize on a single leg while in a running or jumping pattern. You will also begin to prepare the shoulder girdle for the obstacle-course stations such as pull-ups, wall climbs, rope climbing or anything that requires crawling. And you will see improvement of core stability through pelvis counter rotation forces for cycling.


  • Start in push-up position – shoulders directly above your hands.
  • Push your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Lengthen your spine through the top of your head and down through your tailbone.
  • Keep your eyes gazing down at the floor.
  • Your shoulder blades should be flat on the back of the ribcage.
  • Brace your abdominals to maintain neutral spine.
  • Contract your glutes and quadriceps (squeeze your butt and straighten your knees).
  • Bring your right knee directly toward your right elbow without elevating your pelvis or rounding your spine.
  • Pause with your knee at the elbow to feel the contraction of the glutes of the standing leg.
  • Find a rhythm of breath with the movement – for example, inhale while in plank, exhale as you bring the knee to the elbow.
  • Alternate right and left knees. Do 5-10 repetitions on each side for 2-4 sets.