People often ask me what is the best exercise to strengthen your “core.” My answer varies on their fitness level but one exercise you just can’t go wrong with is the plank. The plank is great because it is a safe, effective core stabilizing exercise. Many people don’t know this but there are tons of variations you can do to make this traditional exercise more challenging.

First off, if you are not familiar with a plank make sure you try it first with your knees staying on the ground. 

How to set up for a Plank

You are going to want to get into a pushup position on the ground.

Coming up on your forearms, raise your chest and your knees up. Tuck your pelvis under toward your navel and squeeze your glutes. You want to imagine someone was about to punch you in the belly- maintain that “tightness” or contraction for about 30 seconds.                                             

If you are unfamiliar with a plank or this is your first time performing it, try it first with your knees on the ground. When and if this is easy for you, go ahead and give the traditional plank a shot by simply lifting your knees. Again, you want to imagine someone was about to punch you in the stomach. So maintain that tightness the whole time- usually about 30-45 seconds. Increase the time as the exercise becomes easier.  If you are shaking slightly, you are doing it correctly!

How to progress the Plank           

There are tons of variations you can do to make the plank more challenging for yourself.

If you want to switch it up, try slowly shifting your weight to the front of your toes to the back of your heels. You are going to maintain this “rocking” movement for 3-45 seconds or as long as you can. This is called the Body-saw Plank.

Another variation you can do is simply lifting your foot and placing it on the opposite heel. This is called the Single Leg plank.

You can also try coming up onto your hands and back down to your forearms. This is called the Up & Down plank. Make sure you don’t allow your hips to sway so much from side to side here.

Another variation you can try is a plank on your hands and adding in chest tapping. This is called Plank with chest taps. The same rules apply here as well. Make sure your hips are not moving so much from side to side.

Check out this short video of me demonstrating all the plank variations listed above.

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