The Dreaded Plank // How + Why

Written with love, by Nikki Lian

You constantly hear me talk about your core in the mini workouts I provide for you.  So many of my workouts engage the core not only because the majority of people out there want a flat stomach, but because with a strong core one will have less back issues. That's why sometimes these exercises are very uncomfortable for the lower back. It's not because there is a problem with your lower back, it's just not strong yet.

Here are some basic planks you can incorporate into your everyday workout. I either like to use these as an exercise in a circuit or while I'm working on my abs at the beginning of my workout. These can also be done by themselves if you want to squeeze a quick workout in when you wake or before you go to bed at night.


Bent-Armed Plank

Start laying on your stomach in a pre-push-up position.  While bending your elbows, lift your body up supporting yourselves with your forearms and feet. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and you should be staring straight at the floor.  Your body should form a straight line from your forearms to your ankles.

Hold your belly button into your spine. Remember--straight line. Your lower back should not be sinking in and your butt should not be high in the air. Start out by holding this position for 30 seconds for 3 sets. Then increase by 15 seconds if you feel you can.

bent armed plank // core exercises at home


Straight-Armed Plank

Follow the same instructions above, except this time keep your arms straight and hold yourself up with your hands. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders, as well as your feet. This position you will notice is slightly less difficult because it is performed at an easier angle. If you're just adding planking to your routine you may want to start out with this one.


Modified Plank

A modified plank is a straight-armed or bent-armed plank done on your knees. A modified plank is less challenging but again, if this is where you need to start you can build your way up to being on your feet. While performing a modified plank it will be easier to forget to keep your back straight and to not stick your butt out. You should have a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. 


Side Plank

plank // core exercises at home

Much like basic planking, a side plank can be done on your hand or forearm, except you are on your side. So you are holding yourself up with one arm, your back straight and one foot on top of the other.  It's again important to keep that straight line and to not sink your body towards the floor.

Practice these basic exercises and next week I'll get into some modifications that are a bit more challenging to add to your workout.