Love ’em or hate ’em, planks are one of the best moves you can do to strengthen your entire core top to bottom, side to side and around the middle. Here’s the lowdown on doing this move properly in order to forge abs of steel.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
• Engage your abs by imagining your belly button lifting up into your spine while keeping your hips aligned and square; don’t let them rise up too high or sag too low.
• Ground your toes into the floor by contracting your quads, press your heels toward the wall behind you, and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your lower body and hips.
• Start by holding plank for 20 seconds, then work up to 60 or even 90 seconds as you improve.
Once you become proficient at the standard plank, challenge yourself with the variations listed below.
See AlsoThe Do’s and Don’ts of Planks
Tip: Planks can either be done on your forearms or on your hands. The forearm version is slightly easier and may be better for beginners. If you don’t have a training partner to watch you, do your plank alongside a mirror to make sure that you’re in the correct position and that your hips are not too high or too low.
More Plank Variations
• Medicine-/Stability-Ball Plank
• Forearm Plank
• Shoulder-Tap Plank
• Lateral-moving Plank
Variation To Try Today: Hanging Oblique Crunch Hi-Low Plank
Start in a plank on your hands. Then bend one elbow and place one forearm on the floor, followed by the other forearm. Now reverse that sequence and return to the standard plank position one hand at a time to complete one rep. Repeat for time. The challenge is to keep your hips square as you go from high to low and not to tip side to side.