A fundamental core conditioning exercise - the plank develops the abs without a crunch in sight.

Primary Muscle Abdominals
Secondary Muscle(s) Back
Difficulty Beginner
Also known as Front Plank, Front Hold, Hover, Abdominal Bridge
Optional Weighted Vest

How to do the Plank exercise

The plank is a true stability exercise and is a highly effective way to build the core muscles without a crunch movement. Build up the duration that you hold the exercise to create a strong and defined core with impressive abs.

To perform the Plank exercise:

  1. Being face down resting your weight on your forearms and toes and pull your abs in tight. 
  2. Maintain a hold where your body is in a straight line from shoulders to heels for as long as possible.


  • Keep a straight back and don't allow your hips to sag throughout the exercise hold. 
  • Try the 'RKC plank'. In this variation you don't just hold the position, you seriously squeeze your abs, glutes, quads, lats, etc.

Beginning the Plank Exercise

The plank is a difficult exercise for such a simple position but it's very rewarding. When first starting out simply hold the plank for as long as you can without compromising form. 

With practice you'll see results in a short space of time as you can hold the position for increasing durations. 

Plank Progressions

A common fitness goal for the plank is 2 minutes. When you can comfortably hold the plank for this time there are two common ways to increase difficulty;

  • Adding weight using a weighted vest, backpack or weight plate
  • Increasing hold time

Unless you're training for endurance (or a plank competition) our preferred approach is to add more weight. 

Other approaches to developing your plank are to vary the movement;

  • Lengthen the lever by moving the arms further out
  • Rollout exercises such as ab wheel rollouts, ring rollouts, or suspension rollouts (begin from a kneeling position at first)
  • Single arm/leg plank variations - try alternating raising legs, holding a leg raise for 20 seconds, then switching up.

Advanced Plank Exercises

When you've built a solid core and have enough abdominal strength to comfortably hold the plank for 2 minutes or more you can try training for more complex variations such as;


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.