Ramp Up to The Perfect Plank

Oh, the plank…we dread it, but it’s the ultimate core strength and stabilization exercise. The plank works nearly every muscle in your body from your arms to your feet, requires engaging your core to support good posture, and builds muscle endurance.

Here’s how to do it:

  • If you’re a beginner at planking, choose an elevated position with your hands on a chair or couch, or on the floor on your hands and knees.

  • Whether planking from your hands or from your elbows, make sure your shoulders, hips and heels (or knees) are in a straight line.

  • Push down and toward the floor with your arms, separate your shoulder blades and feel your anterior serratus muscles engage (along the front sides of your ribcage).

  • Draw your navel into the back of your spine, to work your transversus abdominus muscles.

  • Squeeze your butt, tightening your gluteal muscles.

  • Flex your feet for maximum core engagement.

Time how long you can hold a plank with proper form, and increase your time by 10 seconds every workout. When you can hold good form for at least 30 seconds, try these plank variations (click link to view) and include one in every workout.

Jennifer Slaboda