How to Do the Perfect Plank

How to Do the Perfect Plank

The plank is a static exercise that broadly you can perform anywhere, what this means is that the body stays in one single position for the entirety of the plank routine. The plank requires no equipment and can be performed in most suitable rooms, not just the gym but use your best judgement).

In this guide on how to do the perfect plank find out how to perfect your plank routine and to remedy some of the most common planking mistakes with this fitness tips guide to the perfect plank.

What is the Plank Exercise?

Planking is a moderate and simple but equally effective body weight exercise. Positioning the body straight as a board fosters and encourages strength gain mainly in the body core. Here you will find the rigid muscles that connect the upper and lower body, including the arms, the shoulders and glutes. Performed correctly the plank exercise tones and builds body core strength.

Fundamentally a simple exercise there are however several variations to performing the plank routine.

The Standard Plank Exercise

This is the regular plank that perhaps you have already encountered as part of your exercise routine. To perform this plank place the hands under the shoulders ( a bit further and wider than shoulder width ) just as if you’re about to do a normal press up.

Next for the standard plank grind the toes into the floor and tightly squeeze the glutes to help stabilize the right body position. The legs should be actively working in this move too; be very careful not to lock or hyper extend either of your knees.

Now you must neutralize the spine and the neck by focusing at a spot on the floor roughly a foot beyond the hands. Line up the head with the back.

Maintain the plank position for 30 seconds. As you get more used to this position and holding the move together then of course hold the plank position for longer if its comfortable but without compromising any body form or pattern of breath.

The Knee Plank

This version of the plank is noticeably easier to hold than the standard straight plank, this plank position is an ideal choice for beginners as it allows them to concentrate on developing their body form. By resting the knees on the ground there is less stress for the back to deal with. Use a gym mat or thick towel if they feel uncomfortable on the floor whilst performing the knee plank.

Forearm Plank Position

This variation of the plank is also one of the most frequently used ways that many people perform a plank, this version of the exercise is slightly less hard work than holding the body up with only the hands.

To perform an forearm plank first place the arms on the ground and align your elbows below the shoulders. Arms should run parallel to the body targeted at shoulder width distance. You can clasp your hands together if flat palms cause any discomfort.

The Side Plank

This side plank variation does a better job of targeting the side muscles of the body core, than a normal plank does.

To perform this plank exercise first of all you need to lie on one side with the legs raised on top of one another, then next prop the body up either on the hands or elbows while maintaining the feet properly stacked up.

Modify the body position by raising the opposing arm or leg into the air in order to make the plank harder, or make the move lighter by crossing the upper leg right in front of the body for ensuring additional support.

The Single Leg Plank

This variation increases the demand on the core by removing one point of contact from the gym mat.


To try this plank variation position the body into a basic plank first of all, then raise one leg up toward the ceiling for as far as feels comfortable, without compromising your back and position. Alternate the legs whilst keeping your hips parallel to the floor.

There you have it a selection of plank exercises that can turn a fairly simple and ordinary strength and toning exercise into something a little more exciting with a level of variation to keep those plank exercise routines looking fresh.

Male Fitness Mike
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Male Fitness Mike