What is a Plank Exercise?

What is a Plank Exercise?

Staff Writer
6 minute read

What Is a Plank Exercise?

If you’ve been involved in the work of exercise and fitness for a while, then you must’ve come across various beginners as well as fitness experts performing an exercise in which they lie flat on their stomachs, propping their upper bodies up on their elbows, with their feet together and toes pointed. This is called a plank exercise, and it's a great way to work your abs, obliques, and lower back.

In this guide, we'll explain what a plank is, how to do it correctly, and some of the benefits you can expect from incorporating it into your workout routine.

What Is a Plank Exercise?

The plank is a popular example of isometric exercise and is a classic core exercise that works the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles), transverse abdominis (the deep core muscles), and obliques (the side abs). The plank is incredibly popular in the fitness community primarily because of how simple and effective it is.

The plank targets the core muscles in your torso, including your abdominals, obliques, and back. When done correctly, the plank is a challenging exercise that can work these muscles to fatigue.

How to Do the Basic Plank Exercise?

Start in a push-up position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Make sure your shoulders are directly over your elbows, and that your body is in a straight line from head to heels.

To do a plank, brace your abs and hold this position for as long as you can. If you can't hold the position for the entire time, start by holding it for 10 seconds and work your way up from there. If you're just starting out, aim to hold the plank for 30 seconds. As you get stronger, work your way up to 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or even longer.

Variations of the Plank Exercise

There are actually a lot of variations of the plank exercise that you can do to target different muscle groups. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Standard plank: This is the basic plank exercise that we just talked about. You can do this one with your arms extended out in front of you or with your elbows bent and resting on the ground.

  • Side plank: To do a side plank, you'll start in the same position as a standard plank, but then you'll rotate your body so that you're resting on one side, with your feet stacked on top of each other. You can prop yourself up on your elbow or extend your arm out in front of you.

  • Forearm plank: For this variation, you'll start in the same position as a standard plank, but then lower yourself down so that you're resting on your forearms instead of your hands.

  • Plank with leg raise: Start in a standard plank position, but then raise one leg off the ground and hold it there for a few seconds before lowering it back down. You can also do this exercise with both legs raised.

  • Plank with arm raise: Start in a standard plank position, but then raise one arm off the ground and hold it there for a few seconds before lowering it back down. You can also do this exercise with both arms raised.

What Muscles Are Used in a Plank Exercise?

Next, you must understand which muscles of your body are being strengthened with the help of the plank. Apart from targeting big muscle groups, including your abs, back, shoulders, and legs, planks also target the smaller stabilizing muscles, which are the ones that help keep your joints in alignment.

And because plank exercises engage so many different muscle groups at once, they're a great way to build strength and improve your overall fitness level. Not to mention, they can help you get better at other exercises too.

Consider Safety When Doing Planking Exercises

When you are doing a plank, you are essentially holding yourself in a push-up position. And while that might not sound like much, it can actually be pretty tough on your body if you're not careful.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you're doing a plank exercise. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your form is good. If you start to feel pain in your lower back or your neck, it means that your form is off and you need to adjust.

Second, don't hold the position for too long. A good rule of thumb is to hold the plank for 30 seconds to one minute. Anything beyond that is going to start putting unnecessary strain on your body.

And finally, listen to your body. If at any point during the exercise you start to feel pain, stop immediately and rest. Planking is supposed to be a good workout, not a painful one.

The plank is a basic exercise that can help you achieve a number of fitness goals. Here's a breakdown of how to do the plank exercise, plus some tips on how to make it more challenging. 

When you're starting out, aim to hold the plank for 30 seconds. As you get stronger, you can work your way up to holding the exercise for two minutes or longer. Don't be afraid to ask a friend or family member to help you make the plank more challenging.

While including planks in your workout routine will certainly help you achieve promising results quickly, you can still improve its effectiveness by following the right diet plan. Clean Eatz Kitchen brings you a variety of diet plans, each specially designed to complement particular workout routines.  By getting the meals delivered to your doorstep in time, we ensure that your body stays energized through every workout session; therefore, leading to optimum results.

Summary of What Is a Plank Exercise

  • The plank works your abdominals, obliques, and back

  • To do a plank, maintain your body in a push-up position with your weight resting on your forearms

  • The different kinds of plank include the standard plank, side plank, forearm plank, plank with leg raise, and plank with arm raise

  • When doing a plank, you need to maintain a good form and avoid long durations

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