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  • Writer's pictureHannah Kurz, PT, DPT

How To: The Basic Plank in 5 Easy Steps

The basic front plank is a foundational exercise to have in your toolkit. When practiced correctly, planks not only work to strengthen and stabilize your entire body, but can be done equipment free on any level surface. Follow the steps below to make sure you are engaging your whole body in this essential exercise!

1. With your arms shoulder width apart, press palms firmly down into the ground, spreading the fingers and evenly distributing weight through the entirety of your hand and fingertips.

2. Press your toes into the floor as you energetically push through your heels and lift your legs. Tighten your glutes (butt muscles) and quads (thigh muscles) without locking out your knees.

3. Lengthen your neck while keeping your head in neutral and pull your shoulders away from your ears.

4. Engage your shoulders by actively pushing through your upper back. Check that your arms engaged and not locked out. If you're not sure, try adding a slight bend to your elbows and you will feel your triceps kick on.

5. Abdominal activation is key! By tucking your tailbone in and keeping your body in a straight line, you should feel your abs turn on. In other words: don't allow your butt to rise up or sink down. To learn more about how to to best activate your abs, check out our blog post on transverse abdominal activation here

Finally, keep breathing! Hold this position for 15-60 seconds, then push back onto your knees for child's pose. Modifications of the basic plank include: forearm plank, plank jacks, side planks, and single leg plank, but be sure you have mastered the basic plank and can hold it for at least 60 seconds before trying anything else. Happy planking!

Have more exercise questions? Contact us for a free telehealth consultation!

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