The plank exercise, also referred to as the front plank, can effectively strengthen our core as long as you do it correctly. Core strength is essential, because in addition to improving your appearance, strong core muscles can improve your stability and balance, reduce back pain, ease daily activities and enhance your athletic performance. To enjoy these benefits, incorporate the front plank into your workout routine. With consistency, you’ll have a slimmer, stronger midsection in no time.
Come down on all fours on the floor or an exercise mat. Look down at the floor so your neck is parallel to the floor. Position your hips directly above your knees and place your palms directly under your shoulders.
Pull in your tummy, drawing your belly button to your spine. Imagine sucking in your stomach as if you’re trying to zip up a pair of tight jeans. Continue to breathe as normal, but keep your abdominals tight to support your back.
Extend your legs straight back, propping up on the balls of your feet and pushing back into your heels.
Contract the muscles in your legs and buttocks to help stabilize your body. Keep your back straight so your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Combat gravity and avoid releasing the tension in your abs, rounding your back or pushing your buttocks in the air. Also, keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
Hold this plank position as long as you can. Initially, aim for 30 seconds, and as you get stronger, slowly increase the duration to 1 minute.
Perform the exercise on your forearms instead of on your hands, if you’re up for a greater challenge. Bend your arms and place your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders with your forearms extended forward. Because your lowered body has to work harder to combat gravity, the intensity of the exercise increases.
If the plank on your hands and toes is a little too challenging, bend your knees and do the exercise on your knees and palms, aligning your body from your head to your knees.
Harvard Health Publications