The Plank is a great isometric core exercise. Isometric simply means without movement, so where a sit up there is movement, a hold such as the plank there is not. The Plank is often performed incorrectly, with people engaging the muscles incorrectly. Here’s a guide on how to perform it, its variations and how to make it easier or harder.
The two variations of the Plank
There are two typical styles:
Plank with bent arms, with the Forearms on ground
Plank with straight arms, hands on the ground
Both are good, but the straight arm variation places more stress on the wrists and shoulders. To focus predominantly on the core, use the bent arm variation.
How to perform the Straight Arm Plank
Place your feet and hands on the floor in the press up position, protract your scapula, pushing your shoulder blades apart and brace your abs. Do not let your hips sag towards the floor, and ensure your hips are not too high – keeping your back straight.
How to perform the Bent Arm Plank
Place your feet and forearms on the floor, elbows slightly flared and hands together underneath your head. Protract your scapula, pushing your shoulder blades apart and brace your abs. Do not let your hips sag towards the floor, and ensure your hips are not too high – keeping your back straight.
Things to look out for
Arching Body (Banana Shape) – Make sure your Glutes and Core are engaged.
Hips hiked in the air – Lower the hips so the back is flat
Shoulders retracted (Chest collapsing down) – Keep Shoulders protracted, pushing the shoulders apart.
How to make the Plank easier
From a high anchor point simply loop our Dynamic Bands around your shoulders and assume the Plank. The Dynamic Bands will provide assistance, the further away from the anchor point the more assistance they will give.
How to make the Plank Harder
From a low anchor point utilise the Dynamic Bands wrapped around your waist to provide sideways resistance. You must keep your body from being pulled towards the anchor, adding additional core activation. Hold this position for time, then turn to face the other way and continue.
Walkouts are an additional exercise you can do to continue training the core. From the arm extended variation, simply walk your hands forward so there is more tension on your shoulders and arms.