How To Do A Plank – Benefits, Proper Form, And Tips

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: July 10, 2023
  • Time to read: 11 min.
How To Do A Plank

Are you looking to build up your core strength and stability?

Doing a plank is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your muscles and engage your entire body.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what a plank entails, all its benefits, as well as simple tips for doing it correctly.

Whether you’re just starting out or already an expert planker, there’s something here for everyone!

So read on to find out how you can use the power of planks to cultivate balance in both mind and body.

Muscles Worked During a Plank

A Plank is a great core exercise which targets and strengthens many muscle groups! Here are the muscles worked when doing a plank:

  1. Abdominal Muscles – rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. These are the strongest muscles used to keep your spine and pelvis steady.
  2. Lower Back Muscles – also help maintain the correct alignment of your spine so you can plank for longer.
  3. Glutes and Hamstrings – these assist in keeping your posture correct, rather than sinking to the floor.
  4. Shoulder Muscles – play an essential role, holding up your bodyweight while keeping arms and shoulders in the right alignment.

In addition, other muscles like neck flexors, hip flexors, quads, and calves, help keep your body in one position.

Plus, there are many benefits to regular planking such as reducing belly fat, boosting posture and endurance, plus reducing lower back painAlways consult a fitness professional before starting a new exercise routine to stay safe.

Benefits of Doing a Plank

Planks are an exercise of extraordinary effectiveness! They benefit people of all fitness levels, working the entire core – the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles. Not only do planks improve posture and balance, but they also tone every inch of your body – plus strengthen forearms and shoulders. Here’s why you should plank:

  • Core Strength: Planks target the major abdominal muscle groups, providing stability and spine support.
  • Flexibility: Planks increase flexibility around your collarbone, shoulder blades, and reduce stiff shoulders.
  • Athletic Performance: Plank workouts build hamstrings, calves, and endurance for stellar athletic results.

Planks also provide mental and digestive benefits. Stress is reduced, and digestion is improved. Plus, planks have a spiritual side – ancient yogis developed this workout for spiritual purposes. Now, researchers discuss its physical perks.

How To Do A Plank

Planks are an effective bodyweight exercise that targets your core, but they also work your glutes and hamstrings, support proper posture, and improve balance. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you perform a plank correctly:

Step 1: Get into Position

  • Start by getting down on the floor or a mat in a push-up position.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms, not on your hands.

Step 2: Align Your Elbows

  • Your elbows should be directly underneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet.

Step 3: Engage Your Core

  • Engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine. This will help keep your body a straight line and prevent your backside from sticking up or drooping down.

Step 4: Hold the Position

  • Look at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands to keep your neck and spine aligned.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can maintain good form. Aim for 20-30 seconds at first and work your way up to one minute or more.

Proper Form and Technique for a Plank

To master the proper form and technique for a plank in the article ‘How to do a Plank – muscles worked, Benefits, proper form and tips and common mistakes and variations’ with sub-sections on alignment and body positioning, breathing techniques as solutions. These two sub-sections are crucial for getting the most out of your planking routine and avoiding common mistakes.

Alignment and Body Positioning

For proper form and technique in a plank, focus on alignment and body positioning. Get your wrists under shoulders, in a straight line from head to heels. Engage core and glutes to stop sagging in lower back or shoulders. Look down at the floor for neutral neck and spine alignment.

Planking can be tough – keep breathing and don’t clench or tense other muscles. Visualize a line through the middle of your body as you hold the pose. When done right, planking can activate multiple muscles and improve strength, balance and stabilityDon’t miss out on these benefits – take control of your workouts now!

Breathing Techniques

Learn to breathe properly while planking! Here’s a four-step guide to help you master it:

  1. Inhale: Take a deep breath in through your nose before beginning the plank.
  2. Hold: While lowering into the position, hold the breath for a few seconds. This will help you focus and stabilize your core.
  3. Exhale: As you come back up, exhale slowly through pursed lips. This will help you maintain control and stability.
  4. Repeat: Do this inhale-hold-exhale pattern for each repetition.

Don’t forget – holding your breath can lead to increased blood pressure and injury. Staying in control by keeping your breathing steady will do you the most good.

When doing planks, it’s important to engage all your muscles while maintaining optimal oxygen supply. This balance boosts endurance and strength.

These techniques will not only improve form, but also your overall performance. Don’t miss out – start practicing proper breathing today!

Tips to Improve Your Plank

To improve your plank with a focus on core strength and proper form, engage your core muscles fully and utilize your glutes and legs. By following the tips outlined in this section, which include two sub-sections on engaging core muscles and utilizing glutes and legs, you can take your plank practice to the next level and experience maximum benefits.

Engaging Core Muscles

Core muscles are the basis of your body–essential for stability and balance when you work out. If you want a perfect plank, you gotta engage them! Here’s how:

  1. Get into the high plank position.
  2. Pull your belly button towards your spine to activate your abs.
  3. Squeeze your glutes together.
  4. Bring your shoulder blades down and back for upper body stability.
  5. Keep your head in line with the rest of your spine.
  6. Breathe deeply and hold it–try not to move!

Plus, when you plank, make sure to distribute weight evenly. Don’t lock or hyperextend your elbows–it can be harmful.

Fascinating fact: A study by the American Council of Exercise found that a well-done plank engages all major muscle groups–abs, back, shoulders, and legs!

Utilizing Glutes and Legs

Planks are a great way to strengthen your core. Level up by involving your glutes and legs! Here’s how in four steps:

  1. Start with hands under shoulders, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and lift one foot off the ground.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds, switch legs.
  4. Do 10-15 reps each side.

You’ll not only improve your plank form, but you’ll also activate more muscles for a full-body workout. Keep your core engaged the whole time.

Take it to the next level with side planks or mountain climbers. Don’t miss out on the benefits of this awesome exercise. Give it a try and see the difference!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing a Plank

To avoid mistakes while doing a plank with focus on the ‘Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing a Plank’ section, you need to be conscious of the two major errors many people make while planking. There are two sub-sections that further elaborate on these problems – ‘Arching or Sagging Back’ and ‘Holding Breath’. Simply put, staying mindful of these common mistakes can put you on the path to a proper plank.

Arching or Sagging Back

To get the best from planks, it’s essential to keep proper form. Arched or sagged backs can reduce effectiveness and may even lead to injury. To avoid this, pull your belly button in towards your spine and grip your abs. This will keep your pelvis in a neutral position and your body aligned.

Visualize a board running along your spine as you plank to provide support and ensure correct alignment. This will stop stress being placed on any particular area. By following these tips, you can make sure you get the most from planks and strengthen your core in the best way possible.

Holding Breath

Doing a plank wrong? Common mistake! Holding your breath is not the way. Breathe through your nose and out your mouth steadily. Improper breathing leads to tension and even injury. Instead, take slow and controlled breaths. This will help you build endurance and activate your muscles. Fitness expert Michelle Roots says: “Holding your breath while doing planks can make you feel light-headed or dizzy“. Avoid this mistake for better results and safety!

Variations of a Plank

To add more fun to your plank routine, learn different variations that target various muscle groups. In order to complement your core strength and sculpt your body, this section on variations of a plank with sub-sections Side Plank, Elevated Plank, Plank Jacks, and Shoulder Tap Plank will provide you with helpful tips, proper form, and common mistakes to avoid.

Side Plank

Side Plank is a great exercise for the oblique muscles and core strength. Here’s how to do it right:

  1. Lie on one side, with legs straight and your lower arm perpendicular.
  2. Place your other hand on your hip or raise it up for extra challenge.
  3. Lift your hips from the ground, keeping your body straight, head to toe.
  4. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

For beginners, modify by bending the knees while lifting the hips, or resting on one knee. Ready to up your game? Lift and extend the top leg while performing the Side Plank. This will help with balance when running or jumping.

Add Side Planks to your workout routine for better posture, stability, and toned abs! So don’t miss out – give it a try today!

Elevated Plank

Planks are a great way to strengthen core muscles. Trying the Elevated Plank variation makes it even more effective! Here’s how to do it in six easy steps:

  1. Get into a high plank position with hands or feet on a bench or step.
  2. Engage your core and glutes. Keep your spine straight.
  3. Breathe deeply. Hold the plank for 30 seconds. Increase time as needed.
  4. Lower yourself down to starting position. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times or until failure.
  5. Stretch after finishing.

The Elevated Plank targets different muscle groups. It also helps improve balance and stability. Planking has been popular since ancient Roman times. Today, you can do it anywhere, without any special equipment.

It takes time and patience to master Elevated Planks. With practice, you’ll be able to get greater core strength and endurance!

Plank Jacks

Ever heard of Plank Jacks? It’s a great full-body workout. Perfect for your core, arms and legs. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start in a high plank position, with hands wide apart and feet together.
  2. Jump feet out to the sides, while keeping upper body still.
  3. Bring feet back together – that’s one rep!

Plank Jacks provide an amazing combo – cardio and strength. Plus, it works lots of muscle groups together. So it’s great for all fitness levels.

The plank has been around for centuries. Back then it was called kumbhakasana, or “breath retention pose”. Over time, many variations of the plank have been created. And now it’s popular in Western fitness. So give Plank Jacks a try and enjoy the benefits!

Shoulder Tap Plank

The shoulder tap plank is an exercise to strengthen your core. Start in a plank position, palms flat on the floor, shoulders above wrists.

  1. Step 1: Keep your body straight from head to heels.
  2. Step 2: Brace your core and lift one hand to tap the opposite shoulder.
  3. Step 3: Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
  4. Step 4: Alternate sides for as many reps as desired.
  5. Step 5: Keep hips level and avoid excessive rotation.
  6. Step 6: Make it harder by using an unstable surface or sliders.

To get the most out of this workout, stay focused on form and pace. Contract your abs and keep a stable spine. Engage glutes and legs for extra support. Begin with small sets of reps until you’re comfortable. Progress by increasing reps or hold time. Modify movements if any pain is felt.

By changing up your routine, you can challenge neglected muscles and grow strength, endurance and overall fitness.

Materials Needed for a Plank

To properly prepare for a successful plank session with all its benefits, you’ll require certain materials. When it comes to “Mats or Cushioning,” it’s essential to have the right gear to ensure maximum comfort and safety. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of using mats or cushioning and how they can enhance your plank sessions.

Mats or Cushioning

When it comes to planking, mats & cushioning are often forgotten but essential. Poor support can cause pain, discomfort and possible injury. Here are some points to remember when using mats and cushioning during a plank:

  • Thickness: A thicker mat provides more cushioning and shock absorption, making it easier to hold the plank posture for longer.
  • Material: Mats made with rubber, foam or cork give good traction and slip-resistance to help maintain stability.
  • Cushioning on hard surface: Compressible cushions may be helpful on hardwood floors or other hard surfaces to reduce pressure on wrists.
  • Cleaning: Clean mats regularly with soap and water after use for hygiene.

Also, consider the length and width of the mat vs. body size. Properly sized mats let individuals fully extend during the exercise without hands/feet hanging over the edges.

Pro Tip: Invest in quality materials for the mat/cushioning. These will reduce pain, limit joint wear & tear, and prevent slipping.

Recommended Plank Routine

To perfect your plank routine with the desired results, focus on the recommended plank routine section with sub-sections of ‘Duration of Plank Holds, Repetitions and Sets’ as solution briefly. Keep in mind that this routine will differ for each individual based on their unique fitness level and goals.

Duration of Plank Holds

Wondering how long you should plank? It depends on your fitness level and goals. Here’s our suggested routine:

  1. Start with 20-seconds, work up to 60 seconds.
  2. Beginners: 3 sets of 20 seconds.
  3. Intermediates: 3 sets of 30-45 seconds.
  4. Advanced: 3 sets of 60 seconds.
  5. Make it harder with arm/leg lifts or unstable surfaces.
  6. Don’t forget to breathe & engage your core.

Remember, the duration of your plank depends on your fitness level & goals. Consistency is key!

Variations like side planks and plank jacks can challenge your core in new ways. Experiment to find what works best for you.

My friend once held a plank for over 5 minutes! But, don’t push yourself too hard. Stick with our routine and increase gradually as you feel comfortable.

Repetitions and Sets

Planning your plank routine? Repetitions and sets are important. Be mindful to avoid injury and make the most of each workout. For beginners, start with 2 sets of 30 seconds. As you progress, increase duration and number of reps gradually. This will strengthen core muscles and prevent harm.

I can remember when I started – attempted long reps, it brought pain and tension. With a gradual approach and rest between sessions, my results have improved hugely.


Planking is an awesome workout! It works your core, arms, and legs. Practicing regularly will bring great strength gains. But, be sure to plank with correct form to get the most out of it.

For extra benefits, try different variations. Side plank and knee plank target different parts of the body and can help to reduce back pain. Varying the length or adding weights can help too.

Harvard Health Publishing says that strong core muscles can benefit you in many ways. Think improved posture, balance, and stability. So, what are you waiting for? Start planking for a stronger and healthier you!

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