« Health & Fitness

The Perfect Plank

by Christy Taylor

Heres a simple, super effective exercise that youll undoubtedly develop a love/hate relationship with the plank.

Holding the body stiff as a board develops great core strength and strengthens the shoulders, arms and glutes.

The plank is especially awesome because it requires no equipment and can be performed just about anywhere.

So heres how to execute the perfect plank:

  • Plant hands directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width apart) like youre about to do a push-up.
  • Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze the glutes to stabilize the bottom half of the body. Aline your neck and spine by looking at the floor about a foot in front of your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds to start out. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising form or breath.

Remember, butt down, stomach tight and neck straight.
To make sure youve got good form, follow these tips. And, to challenge yourself even more, check out these great variations of planks!

Or, watch this!