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How to Perfect Your Plank

Although you may be eager to reap the many benefits of the plank, it only works if you have the form down. So, before you jump into a 60-second plank hold, be sure to brush up on the basics.

"A common mistake when doing planks is not keeping your whole body engaged throughout the exercise," Schumacher explains. "You always want to make sure you are keeping your muscles active from your shoulders all the way down to your feet."

Also, don't forget to keep a steady breathing pattern as you hold, Schumacher says. Often, people lose steam when holding their plank because they forget to supply their body with oxygen — not because they're lacking strength.

Standard Plank

TIME : 15 Sec

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and your hips directly above your knees.

  2. Step your right foot back and then your left foot to balance on your hands and toes. Your body should form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Tuck your pelvis in to engage your core and squeeze your glutes.

  3. Hold this position while maintaining a neutral spine.


You can progress or modify the plank exercise to match your fitness level, both Schumacher and Chan say. If a 15-second plank is too challenging, for example, you can hold it for only 10 seconds. Or, drop down to your knees to make the exercise easier.

When you're ready to take the standard high plank to the next level, you can raise an arm (or an arm and a leg) off the ground while you hold the pose. You can also experiment with side planks and other plank variations. The options are (nearly) endless.



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