Plank Exercise and Variations
Best For Your Core



The plank exercise is simple and yet challenging, and it works all areas of your core. This exercise and its variations will strengthen your abs, back and hips - giving you great core stability and strength.

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Why do you need good core strength? The main reason is to save your back from injury, especially your lower back.

It's the deep core muscles that do most of the stabilising. But the plank is great because it works the deep core muscles, as well as the larger core muscles that surround them.

As you'll see below, the plank exercise involves no movement. So you can fully focus on engaging all your core muscles, and really see some fast improvements. Even if you think you have a strong core, test yourself with this exercise.

Remember, the plank exercise and other core exercises are aimed towards stabilising your spine and preventing back injuries.

But if you want 6-pack abs, click here for fat burning exercises. That's the place to find your 6-pack.

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Enough about 6-packs, let's focus on keeping your back injury-free..

The Plank Exercise

This is best done on soft ground or an exercise mat:

  • Get on all fours (on your hands and knees).
  • Place your forearms flat on the mat (clasp hands together to create an upside down V-shape). Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders.
  • Now straighten your knees and get onto your toes. Only your toes and forearms should be touching the floor.
  • Aim for a straight line between your neck and ankles.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
  • Progress by holding it a little for longer each time, aim for 1 minute or even longer.

Tips: Keep your body weight balanced and focus on working your core muscles (abs, back and hips), rather than your legs and arms. Keep breathing throughout. Take steady breaths, and never hold your breath.

Exercise Pictures

Plank Exercise Variations

To Make It Easier

If you're finding you can't hold the plank for at least 10 seconds, try doing the half plank:

  • Get on all fours (on your hands and knees).
  • Place your forearms flat on the mat (clasp hands together to create an upside down V-shape). Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders.
  • Keep your knees bent and feet in the air. Your knees and forearms should be touching the floor.
  • Aim for a straight line between your shoulders and knees.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
  • Progress by holding it a little for longer each time, aim for 30 seconds and then try the full plank (above).

Tips: Keep your body weight balanced and focus on working your core muscles (abs, back and hips), rather than your legs and arms. Keep breathing throughout. Take steady breaths, and never hold your breath.



To Make It Harder

Need more of a challenge? These 2 variations are much harder than the original plank exercise, so take caution if you try them out.

  1. Start in the same position as the original (full) plank. Slowly lift your left foot off the floor and hold for 2-5 seconds. Bring it back down to the floor and repeat with your right foot.
  2. Start in the same position as the original (full) plank. Shift on to your left forearm and let it take the weight. Slowly lift your right arm in front of you, and hold for 2-5 seconds. Bring it back down to the floor and repeat with opposite arms.

Tips: Make sure you have good core strength before you try these harder variations. They put lots of stress on each side of your body. Keep your core balanced by doing equal amounts on each side.

Click here for 5 tips to lose that stubborn belly fat.

Plank Exercise Videos

Enjoy doing the plank! It really is a great exercise to do on a regular basis. Check out the following videos, submitted by people to help you get that technique absolutely perfect:



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