Looking for an effective way to strengthen the core? The plank is an isometric core exercise that has gained attention and popularity in recent years. It’s an integrated exercise that strengthens the abs, back, and shoulders.
Planks can be performed on the hands, elbows, or on the side. There are many options for all levels. Keep the following in mind:
- Place supporting hands/elbows directly under shoulders.
- Lift and brace the abdominals to maintain a neutral spine.
- Avoid letting the hips and abdominals sag.
- Engage glutes and thighs.
- Keep head in line with the spine.
- Keep shoulders away from ears.
If pain is felt in the low back, stop the exercise and check with your doctor to see if planks will help you strengthen a weak core or if an alternate exercise would be best for you.
- Level 1 – On knees.
- Level 2 – On toes.
- Level 3 – Advanced options.
- Hands on medicine ball.
- Feet on stability ball.
- Feet in suspension system.
- Add slow, controlled movements: mountain climbers, roll-ins (stability ball), toe taps.