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. Today the plank is in the Prism Fitness Spotlight.

Planks can be performed on the hands, elbows (hover), 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.

plank-medicine-ballPLANK

  • 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

plank-hover-liftedHOVER

  • Level 1 – On knees
  • Level 2 – On toes
  • Level 3 – Advanced options
    • Lift one arm or leg (keep hips and shoulders parallel to the floor)
    • Lift opposite arm and leg at the same time

side-plank-liftSIDE PLANK

  • Level 1 – Low knee on floor
  • Level 2 – Scissor stance with low leg behind
  • Level 3 – Stack feet
  • Level 4 – Advanced options
    • Lift top leg
    • Add slow controlled top leg movement (example: tap front and back)

Ready to “walk the plank”? Work toward holding your plank for 30 to 60 seconds. Advance your level with the options above to stay interested and challenged!

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