How to do a Plank

The plank is a brilliant exercise for building core strength using only your own bodyweight. In this exercise guide, I will teach you how to perform the plank correctly, ensuring maximum gains without the risk of injury. The plank focuses on your core muscles: abdominal, back, hips, shoulders, neck. The plank is a great exercise to do as part of an overall core strengthening routine; it will help to build strength and muscle tone.

1. How to Plank

The basic plank is fairly easy exercise. It requires a padded/soft surface (or very tough elbows!) and for you to be able to keep your body straight(ish) in a horizontal position. The basic plank is a static exercise, which means it requires no movement whatsoever, simply strike and hold the pose.



The correct plank position: Hold your body off the floor with your elbows and the tips of your toes. Your hips must be raised, rather than sagging down towards the floor, ensuring your back is kept straight. Your forearms should be flat on the floor and your elbows below your shoulders. You can choose a variety of hand positions including laying them flat on the floor or clasping them together, whatever you prefer.

Keep your feet hip width apart and your butt low. Tighten your stomach muscles throughout the duration of the exercise.

2. Plank Variations

There are numerous plank variations you can try – not all of which are static exercises:

Single Leg Plank – Raise and hold one leg slightly of the ground while you plank.

Leg Raise Plank – Lift one leg up high – while keeping your back straight – and then the other.

Hand Plank – Hold yourself up on your hands rather than your elbows.

In and Out Plank – While holding yourself up by your hands, walk your hands wider and closer repeatedly.

Up and Down Plank – Go from elbow supported plank to hand plank and back again repeatedly.

Side Plank – Plank on one arm, facing the wall rather than the floor.

Plank Variations | Modern Calisthenics

3. The Plank Challenge

Struggling to the get started with the plank? Try the Plank Challenge. The Challenge is great way to build up your core strength slowly.

Day 1: 20 seconds plank

Day 2: 20 seconds plank

Day 3: 30 seconds plank

Day 4: 30 seconds plank

Day 5: 40 seconds plank

Day 6: REST

Day 7: 45 seconds plank

Day 8: 45 seconds plank

Day 9: 60 seconds plank

Day 10: 60 seconds plank

Day 11: 60 seconds plank

Day 12: 90 seconds plank

Day 13: REST

Day 14: 90 seconds plank

Day 15: 90 seconds plank

Day 16: 120 seconds plank

Day 17: 120 seconds plank

Day 18: 150 seconds plank

Day 19: REST

Day 20: 150 seconds plank

Day 21: 150 seconds plank

Day 22: 180 seconds plank

Day 23: 180 seconds plank

Day 24: 210 seconds plank

Day 25: 210 seconds plank

Day 26: REST

Day 27: 240 seconds plank

Day 28: 240 seconds plank

Day 29: 270 seconds plank

Day 30: 300 seconds plank (5mins!!)

30 Day Plank Challenge | Modern Calisthenics


4. The Rise of “The Plank”

A word from Thom: “While studying, I became known as “The Plank” at the university boxing club, having out-planked the rest of the team. In a planking competition, I planked for nearly 7 and a half minutes. After that, “The Plank” was born.”

5. Planking Videos

13 Planks that will Sculpt your Core:

Another Plank Video, 25 Types of Plank:

By George N., Personal Trainer and Fitness Writer at Modern Calisthenics.