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The Plank Exercise & Plank Variations

Updated on June 9, 2011

The Plank

Are crunches a big part of your workout routine but you have no results to show for it?

It's about time we put an end to this madness. Crunches that require spinal flexion are not merely ineffective but they are unsafe to do. A much better option exists - an option that challenges your core in a new way and eliminates unsafe stress placed on the spinal column. The answer is the plank exercise. Planks work wonders. The plank is an efficient isometric hold that advances the stabilization and durability of your core (and we're all aware of how important it is to have a strong core).

The Plank
The Plank

How to Perform the Plank

It is vital to follow these instructions to pull off a good plank:

  1. Start lying face-down on a mat (or the grass),
  2. Get on your toes and elbows keeping your back flat and completely aligned from head to toe,
  3. Keep your abdominals tight by contracting them; the objective is to hold the plank for as long as you can.

That’s it! Sounds simple right!? Test it and get back to me.

As you perform the plank exercise the first time, you’ll quickly see the strength (or lack of strength) of your core. It's crucial that you keep practicing the plank. As you keep going, you’ll be able to hold the plank position longer.

Simple Plank Demonstration

Plank Variations

The Modified Plank

If you are a beginner and you're struggling to hold the plank for more than twenty seconds, then this plank variation is for you. For this modification, you will not be balancing on your toes; instead, you will balance on your knees and forearms. This is great for newcomers because it minimizes the stabilization required yet still challenges your core. Once you can hold a modified plank for a minute, you can move on to a regular plank.

Modified Plank
Modified Plank

The Side Plank

This plank modification targets the obliques (lateral portion of your core) more than anything. The objective here is to turn to one side and balance on the lower foot and lower forearm, creating a bridge with your body. Proper alignment of the body is critical. Perform the same exercise for both sides.

Side Plank
Side Plank

If you want a much more extensive list of variations, visit and search for the plank exercise!

There is no better way to build a strong core than the plank exercise. Remember to start slow and always keep pushing yourself to new limits.

Thanks for Reading!



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    • mothercristina profile image


      7 years ago

      This is definitely harder than it looks in the pictures, but the results are worth the effort.


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