Exercise of the Week: Plank

 In Mobility & Movement Blog

Luke Lewitzke

Certified A.C.E. (American Counsel on Exercise) Personal Trainer

Weight and Lifestyle Management Specialist

The plank exercise is going to work the core muscles of the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, multifidi, internal and external obliques and serratus anterior. All of these core muscles will work to stabilize your spine and resist gravity. Your shoulders, pecs, lats, rhomboids, glutes, and thighs will also work. Your shoulders, pecs, lats, and rhomboids will engage while stabilizing the shoulder joint while the gluts and thighs will engage while stabilizing the hip.

Performing the Plank

  • Start in either push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders or down on your elbows.
  • Brace your core, contract your glutes and thighs, and engage the shoulders by trying to pull the ground underneath you.
  • Hold this position for 10-30 seconds, remembering to breathe through the hold.
  • Slowly lower your knees down onto the floor and relax for a few seconds.
  • Brace the core and push into the ground and lift your knees back up off of the floor to repeat the hold.
  • Do this for 2-6 times total.
  • Make sure that your lower back doesn’t arch where your stomach sinks to the floor.


If the standard plank is too intense and you cannot hold a neutral spine, start with a modified plank or simply start by performing a plank on a wall, then move to a countertop, chair, and finally the floor.

Modified Plank

  • Lying on your stomach, and your elbows under your shoulders, lift your hips up to a neutral spine.
  • Engage your glutes by squeezing your butt cheeks together to protect your lower back.
  • Actively push your forearms and hands into the floor and try to pull the ground underneath you.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Remember to breathe through the plank.
  • Perform 6 sets of 10second planks with 5 seconds rest between sets.


  • Don’t perform the plank in push-up position if you have pain in your wrists.
  • Don’t perform or stop performing the plank if you experience pain in your lower back.
  • Don’t perform the plank if you are experiencing shoulder pain.