How do I perform a plank?

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The plank is a total body exercise that works your abs, shoulders, back and legs. In this video, Heather Carty, of Memorial Hospital Jacksonville's H.E.A.R.T Fitness Center, demonstrates the proper way to perform a plank. 
Wendy Batts
Fitness
When performing a plank, begin by lying on your stomach with your feet shoulder-width apart and forearms placed on the ground. Make sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders and your head is in a neutral position. Next, draw in your abs toward your spine and contract your glutes (making sure that your feet and heels do not touch each other). From this position, lift your entire body off of the floor until your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Hold the top position for a few seconds, making sure you are keeping your glutes and abs contracted. Perform this exercise for the desired number of sets and repetitions.
 

The Plant is an advanced core exercise and perfect for working your total core musculature.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your feet together and forearms placed on the ground. 
  2. Clench your fists under your shoulders, draw-in your navel and contract your gluts. 
  3. Lift your body off of the floor and raise up until your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Hold the top position for 3 seconds to start.
Eric Beard
Sports Medicine

Planks can be a great exercise for the deep core stabilizers (abs baby!). Imagine holding the top position of the push up exercise, except hold yourself up with your forearms instead of your hands. You should be able to draw a straight line from your ear, to your shoulder, through your hip, knee and ankle. A few key points; engage your abdominals and glutes to create a stable base before you start.  Hold yourself at the top only as long as you can hold good form. Common mistakes include an excessive arch in the low back, rounded shoulders and the head hanging down low to the ground. Start by lying face down and flat on the floor then engage your abs by drawing your belly button in gently and squeeze your glutes. Next lift your body to the top of the exercise and hold still! Keep your forearms parallel. Start with a three second hold and build up to 45-60 seconds. Perform at least 1-2 sets if you are performing longer holds and up to 4-5 sets if you are doing shorter holds. Rest 10-60 seconds in between each set and try doing between 30-90 seconds of total work. Add up the time held in the plank position for your total work time. Low back pain or fatigue is never good during this movement. You should feel this in your abs, glutes and shoulders. If it is too challenging, try this exercise from your knees or with your hands on a bench or standing with your hands against the wall to make the exercise easier.

Lie on your stomach with your feet together and forearms placed on the ground. Clench your fists under your shoulders, draw-in your navel and contract your glutes. Lift your body off of the floor and raise up until your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Hold the top position for a few seconds.

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Types Of Exercise

Exercise provides many health benefits - from fitness to increased physical and mental energy. In order to prepare yourself for a exercise routine, you need to research which exercise is right for you and how to fit a new exercise ...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.