Move of the month – classic plank

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 15 Mar, 2022

Each month, I'll highlight an exercise move that is great to include as part of your workout routine! Up next...

Classic plank

High kneww step ups

How to do it

  1. Lie on the ground, on your front.
  2. Bend your arms at a 90° angle and place your elbows directly in line with your shoulders, with your forearms out in front of you.
  3. Curl your toes under and lift your body off the ground.
  4. Engage your core to help stabilise yourself – your body should run straight, right from the top of your head to your toes.
  5. Keep your neck straight and your eyes to the ground.
  6. Avoid sticking your bum in the air or arching your back and creating a dip.

Get into position and hold for 30 seconds. Release, rest and repeat 3-4 times. Build up to 45 second holds, then 60 second holds.

What it's good for

Primarily this move is great for working our deep core muscles – transverse abdominus, obliques and rectus abdominus. This is great for building core strength which can protect us from injury and aid our performance of countless exercises.

The exercise also works our arms, shoulders, chest, back and legs, as the whole body has to engage to keep you up and maintain a strong hold.

Intensify

The longer you can hold this move, the more strength you are developing in your core. If you begin to lose form or start to shake, release, rest and try again.

To up the intensity over time, try holding one arm out in front of you for part of the move, and then alternating to the other arm. Once you've mastered this, try lifting out opposite arm and opposite leg and holding for 10 seconds, then switching sides. Paying close attention to your form at all times – avoid twisting your body, your hips should always be parallel to the floor.

Pointers

  • Focus on engaging your core to support your lower back and keep your body in a straight line.
  • Remember to breathe! It's easy to hold your breath when concentrating on a hold, but slow controlled breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth will help you maintain this hold for longer.
  • If you feel your back start to dip or you begin to shake significantly, release your hold. Incorrect form can lead to injury, so it's better to release and go again after a break.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.