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How to Do Plank Pose

Updated on December 29, 2012
Plank | Source

The plank pose is a great exercise to do. It engages many muscles and helps build strength, muscle endurance, and balance.

Standard Plank Pose

Standard Plank Pose
Standard Plank Pose | Source

The standard plank pose is the first pose you should learn. You will need a yoga mat or carpeted space. Begin on your hands and knees on the mat with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Tuck your toes under so that you are on your toes and extend your legs straight out behind you keeping your arms perpendicular to the mat. Look straight down at the floor. Your neck should be aligned with your spine. Pull your ab muscles in. Your body should now be forming a straight line from the back of the head to the back of the heels.

Try and hold that position for 30 seconds. Build up each day and try to do the pose a little bit longer. It is a great exercise because it engages the ab muscles, arms, chest, back, and thighs.

Modified Plank Pose

Modified Plank Pose
Modified Plank Pose | Source

If you tried the standard plank pose but you cannot achieve it yet, try the modified plank pose. It uses the same process except you keep your knees on the ground.

Upward Plank Pose

Upward Plank Pose
Upward Plank Pose | Source

The upward plank pose strengthens and stretches the shoulders. It also strengthens the arms, back, legs, glutes and wrists. It stretches the chest, stomach, feet, and ankles.

This plank should be done on a mat and in bare feet so you can stay in place. To do the upward plank pose sit on your bottom with your legs out straight in front of you and your arms placed on the floor about 6 inches behind you. Your fingers should be pointing the same direction as you are facing. Press your hands and feet down and lift your hips up. Try to hold the position for 30 seconds and then slowly lower yourself back down.

Side Plank

Side Plank
Side Plank | Source

To do a side plank, lay on your side on a mat. You should do the exercise on both sides of your body to create an even exercise. I will give the example for your right side then you will flip over and do the same on your left. Start by lying on the mat on your right side. You legs should be straight out and you should be propped up on your right forearm. Raise up pulling your hips and knees off the floor. Your feet will be stacked on on top of the other. To keep your balance, contract your abs and butt. Once you are comfortable in the position you can lift your left arm straight up above you. Try and hold the position for 30 seconds and then flip over and do the side plank on your left side.

Plank Pose on Elbows with One Leg Lifted

Plank pose on elbows with one leg lifted
Plank pose on elbows with one leg lifted | Source

Once you are comfortable with doing the basic plank moves: standard plank, modified plank, and side plank you can move on to more advanced planks. Start in the standard plank pose and then one at a time lift one leg up while doing the plank pose. Your foot should be off the ground. Hold that position. Then lower your foot down so that your toes are once again touching the ground. Raise your other foot off the ground and hold that position. Lower that foot back to the ground. Then, raise one arm off the ground. You can hold it straight out from you. Hold that position then lower your arm back down and raise the opposite arm.


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    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 5 years ago from Spain

      I love the plank poses - they are a great work out for your tummy muscles and your back. I do a range of plank poses every day after my sun salutations. We yoga nuts must stick together. Namaste Annie


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