Planking is an excellent full-body exercise that targets your core, shoulders, and legs. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, incorporating planks into your workout routine can improve your overall fitness and strength. In this article, we will guide you through how to do a proper plank, common mistakes to avoid, different variations, and the benefits of this exercise.

Step-by-Step Guide

The correct form for a plank is to start with your forearms on the ground, elbows under your shoulders, and your feet hip-width apart. Keep your body aligned from head to heels, and hold this position without bending your back or hips. Engage your core muscles, and breathe deeply. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you perform a proper plank:

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands and knees hip-width apart. Place your forearms on the ground and align your elbows under your shoulders, making sure your hands are flat on the floor.
  2. Extend your legs behind you, balancing on your toes, while aligning your feet with your hips. Be sure to keep your head up, and your neck straight.
  3. Engage your core and glutes to maintain a straight line from head to toe. Do not allow your hips or lower back to sag.
  4. Breathe deeply, and hold this position for as long as you can. Aim to hold the plank for at least 15 to 30 seconds if you are a beginner.
  5. To end the plank, gently lower your knees to the ground, and rest for a few seconds before repeating the exercise.

Common Mistakes

It is essential to maintain the correct form during a plank to avoid injuring yourself and benefit from the workout. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make while doing a plank:

  • Dropping the hips
  • Maintaining incorrect posture, such as rounding the back or lifting the buttocks too high
  • Not holding the core muscles tight enough, leading to lower back pain

To avoid these mistakes and to get the most out of the exercise, make sure to:

  • Maintain a neutral spinal alignment, keeping your back straight and head up.
  • Engage your core muscles, focusing on tightening your abs and glutes to support your lower back.
  • Breathe normally, inhaling and exhaling deeply to improve your stamina.

Plank Variations

There are several plank variations that you can incorporate into your workout routine to target different muscle groups and add diversity to your workouts. Here are some of the most effective plank variations:

Side Plank

The side plank targets your oblique muscles, which are crucial for core stabilization and rotation. Here is how to do a side plank:

  1. Start in a forearm plank with your elbows under your shoulders and your body aligned from head to heels.
  2. Rotate your body to one side, balancing on one forearm and the corresponding foot.
  3. Extend your opposite arm toward the ceiling, reaching as high as possible.
  4. Keep your core muscles tight, and breathe deeply. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Switch sides and repeat the exercise.

Reverse Plank

The reverse plank targets your glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles while improving posture. Here is how to do a reverse plank:

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you, feet flexed, and your hands behind your hips.
  2. Press your hips and hands into the ground, lifting your body until your hands and heels are in line.
  3. Engage your core muscles, keeping your head up, and facing towards the ceiling.
  4. Breathe deeply and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.

Benefits of Planking

Planking has several scientifically proven benefits that make it an essential exercise in your workout routine:

  • Strengthens your core muscles
  • Improves posture and stability
  • Reduces back pain by strengthening the muscles supporting the spine
  • Increases flexibility and balance

Time-based Planking

How long you can hold a plank depends on your fitness level. Here are some general recommendations for planking times:

  • Beginners: 15 to 30 seconds
  • Intermediate: 30 to 60 seconds
  • Advanced: 60 seconds or more

Remember to gradually increase your planking time to avoid injury and exceed your limits gradually.

Equipment-free Planking

If you cannot visit a gym or do not have equipment available, you can still benefit from planking exercises with these modifications:

  • Knee plank: Perform the same movement as a standard plank, but place your knees on the ground instead of your toes
  • Forearm plank: Balance on your forearms instead of your hands for a more challenging upper body workout
  • Dolphin plank: Start in a forearm plank, then raise your hips, creating an inverted V-shape with your body

Advanced Plank Techniques

If you want to take your plank routine to the next level, try these advanced variations:

  • Spiderman plank: Start in a forearm plank, then lift your right knee and bring it outside your elbow. Repeat this movement with your left leg and alternate sides for a full set.
  • Double-arm plank: Perform the same movement as a standard plank, but lift and extend one arm while the opposite foot leaves the ground. This variation targets your total body muscles while improving balance and stability.


Planks are an effective way to strengthen your core, improve posture, and reduce back pain. Performing them correctly and consistently can lead to several fitness benefits. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, incorporating planks into your workout routine can take your fitness to the next level. By following the guidelines and tips above, you can perform a perfect plank and its variations.

Remember to start slow and gradually increase your planking time and difficulty level to avoid injury.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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