Plank Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

The plank is an isometric exercise that strengthens the entire torso, particularly the core. A standard plank is a simple and essential exercise for any fitness regimen, but correct alignment and positioning is critical for maximizing its benefits.

Plank

How to do Plank

Exercise

Start off in a crawling position on your hands and knees. Pick up one hand, bend it at the elbow and place your elbow on the floor directly underneath your shoulder. Repeat for the other hand so that you are resting your upper body on your elbows. Then walk your knees back out behind you, tuck your toes and pick your knees up off the floor into Plank position.

Make your body as rigid as you can from your feet to your head to keep it in a straight “plank-like” shape side on. Do this by tensing your quads to lift your knee caps up your thighs, squeezing your glutes together, bracing your core and drawing your belly button up away from the floor, whilst at the same time pressing down into the floor with your elbows.

Keep your neck in a neutral position, aligned with the rest of your spine, by looking at the floor just in front of your hands.

Common faults with Plank are to have your hips up too high or too low, to drop your head so you are looking back towards your toes, or to not have enough tension in the upper body such that your chest slumps down in between your shoulders.

Modifications

  • For poor wrists, begin in the plank position and carefully lower down onto your forearms.

  • When you're still gaining core power, keep the plank position on your knees instead of your feet.

Tips

  • Do not allow your back to round.

Exercise Benefits

  • Core Strength

  • Leg Strength

  • Glute Strength

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do plank from this step-by-step illustrations:

Plank 1
Plank 2
Plank 3
Plank 4

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for plank may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for plank are:

Primary Muscles

  • Abs
  • Deltoids
  • Glutes
  • Lats
  • Lower Abs
  • Upper Abs

Synergyst Muscles

  • Rear Deltoids
  • Front Deltoids
  • Side Deltoids
  • Transverse Abs

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Plank work?
Plank works abs, deltoids, glutes, lats, lower abs, upper abs.
What is Plank good for?
Plank is beneficial for conditioning and to strengthen. It works the best for back, buttocks, core, legs, lower body, shoulders, upper body and waist, as it works abs, deltoids, glutes, lats, lower abs, upper abs. Plank is a great bodyweight exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Plank a good exercise?
Plank is a popular bodyweight exercise for abs, deltoids, glutes, lats, lower abs, upper abs.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Plank faster?

Plank Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Plank and how should you?

Plank Standards and Averages

Alternatives

Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Plank Alternatives

Variations

Wonder how to make Plank either easier or more challenging?

Plank Variations

Discover more