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
View Plank guide
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:
- Being face down resting your weight on your forearms and toes and pull your abs in tight.
- 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.
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;
- Side Plank Star
- Jumping Jack Plank
- Plank hand walkouts
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise