Perform The Plank Exercise to Improve Core Strength

The Plank Abdominal Exercise Helps Improve Core Strength and Stability

Woman doing plank
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Strengthening the core is an important aspect of any workout program. Not only does a solid core look good, but it also helps to stabilize, balance, and power the body during activity.

Add these core strengthening exercises to your ab workout program for a new way and effective way to build strength and stability.

The Plank Abdominal Exercise

The basic plank exercise, which is also sometimes called a hover exercise, is the starting place if you want to improve your core strength and stability.

Here is how to properly perform a plan or hover exercise:

  • Begin in the plank position with your forearms and toes on the floor.
  • Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
  • Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to start.
  • Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.

Plank with Leg Lift
There are several variations of the regular plank that further work the core muscles to buuild strength and stability. One such variation is a plank with a leg lift.

In order to perform a plank with a leg lift, start in the same plank position (photo 1) as above with your forearms and toes on the floor.

  • Slowly raise one leg 5-8 inches off the floor
  • Count to two and slowly lower your leg to the floor.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Do about 2-3 sets of 10 reps.

Plank with Arm Lift
Another way to add variety to the basic plank is to add an arm lift.

To perform a plan with an arm lift, follow the steps below:

  • Start in the same plank position as above.
  • Carefully shift your weight to your right forearm.
  • Extend your left arm straight out in front of you.
  • Hold 3 seconds while keeping your core tight.
  • Slowly bring your arm back to starting position.
  • Switch arms and repeat.
  • Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps.

Modified Plank with Leg Lift
To make this exercise a bit easier, you can perform the movement on your hands, rather than your elbows.

Also See:

The Side Plank Exercise
Plank on a Balance Ball

Core Muscle Strength and Stability Testing

The Plank exercise can be used as the basis for assessing your core strength. Sports coach Brian Mackenzie created this test as a way to determine an individual's current core strength and stability and then to monitor progress over time. Learn how to do the Core Muscle Strength and Stability Test.

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