Plank

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

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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:

    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.

    Notes:

    • 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;


Disclaimer

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

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