This Exercise from Kaisa Keranen's #JustMoveChallenge Will Put Your Core Strength to the Test

We've broken down exactly how to master this badass balancing plank move.

Kaisa Challenge
Photo: Instagram/@niicolemariiefit

Kaisa Keranen's workouts are the furthest thing from bland. The trainer and fitness influencer's Instagram feed is filled with videos of her using some pretty creative workout tools—including books, toilet paper, and suitcases, all of which are a mind-blowing testament to her balancing skills, strength, and agility (not to mention, creativity).

Recently, the trainer decided to bring back the #JustMoveChallenge—something she first started back in 2018. The goal of the challenge is to inspire her followers to get moving anywhere, anytime. Every Monday, Keranen shares a video of herself completing a workout move and encourages you to try it at home or at the gym. "As with everything I do, I'm always trying to encourage people to try new things, have fun, and explore how incredible their bodies are and all the amazing things it can do," she tells Shape. (

While fun, these exercises are certainly no walk in the park. In one of the latest segments of her #JustMoveChallenge, Keranen pulls off an insane stability movement using a weighted bar—and makes it look easy no less. Take a look:

"The move was my way of taking a core exercise that everyone knows (the plank) and making it a bit more exciting and challenging so I added the bar as a twist," says Keranen. "The goal was for people to see if they had the core strength to not only do a single-arm plank but to press a bar out and back, too." (

Despite how difficult the move is, within hours, Keranen's fans began posting videos of themselves attempting the exercise. Some users aimed to mimic Keranen to the T, using a weighted bar at the gym:

Others got much more creative, subbing logs and broomsticks for the bar. (

To show her support for everyone who took part in the challenge, Keranen also shared a compilation video of her own, highlighting a few of her favorite plankers.

If you're feeling inspired, but need help working up to the move, we've got you covered. For starters, it's worth noting that this move is all about stability, says Beau Burgau a certified strength and conditioning specialist and founder of GRIT Training.

How to Master the Move

To start, work on strengthening your core and shoulder stability by mastering exercises like high planks and high plank bird dogs. "This will help isolate each portion of the movement so you break down a compound exercise into segments," says Burgau.

Next, if you look at Keranen's demonstration closely, you'll see that she's using a rowing motion to pull the bar toward her body, he says. That's why to complete this move, working on your pull strength is important, he says. Dumbell rows are a great exercise to work those muscles. This move is also great for strengthening your back and improving your posture.

Following that, work your way up to a high plank single-arm row with dumbells to engage your core while pulling, says Burgau. This will help work your core stability and increase back strength needed for this challenge. (Use these tips to learn how to engage your core, and follow these instructions to make sure your core is working during all your workouts.)

Once you feel strong enough to complete the movements above, you're likely ready to mimic the challenge movement without the bar, says Burgau. "Try balancing on your dominant arm in a high plank, similar to during bird dogs," he says. "This muscle memory will help your body understand the movement." (

At this point, you should feel much more prepared to take on the challenge, says Burgau. "When you're ready, grab a bar, or pipe, or broom, or log (etc., etc.) and focus on engaging your core to keep your center of gravity and body stable," he says. "Notice that Keranen's stance is wider than her shoulders to help stabilize herself." Carefully lift one end of the bar off the floor.

Then, to make things easier, Burgau says to break the movement into segments. "Start by keeping both arms extended and moving the bar or pipe forward and back," he says. After that, bend your elbow and pull the bar up towards your body with your left hand as though you're doing a dumbbell row. "Take it slow and remember to breathe." When you're ready, build up to a full rep with the pull.

Eventually, you'll be crushing the move just like Keranen, says Burgau. "She's a beast so just remember to embrace the process," he shares. "Start small and build to the full movement."

As for the risk of injury, Burgau says you're probably in the clear. "Unless you face plant while attempting this," he jokes. "If you have shoulder limitations like reaching overhead, this movement could strain that, but over there's a low risk," he adds.

Still, all things considered, this movement isn't easy: "It's a challenging movement, hence why it's called a 'challenge,'" he says. "But it's all about stability and breathing through the movement to keep control. Just move with a purpose."

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