Plank - the exercise for a strong core

plank - exercise for your full body workout

Plank: Targeted muscle groups

The plank strengthens the entire body, in particular the torso, back, leg, hip and buttock muscles, shoulders and chest.

This exercise is suitable for any whole body workout, but can also be integrated into a split training programme e.g. back training, leg training, bum training or chest training.


Correct execution of the plank

Lie on your stomach and rest your upper body on your forearms. Your elbows should be at shoulder level and your forearms parallel to each other. Your feet should only be touching the floor with your toes. You are now in a floating position and your body is under tension. Make sure that your back does not sag and forms a line with your legs and shoulders. The plank position is similar to the push-up position, except that you are supporting yourself on your elbows and forearms instead of your hands.


Weight recommendations for the plank

Weights for Exercising

You work with your own body weight. Additional weight is not necessary.


What equipment is needed for the plank?

You only need your own body weight. Additional equipment is not required.


What variations of the plank are there?

Repetitions and Exercises

Plank with hip flexion

Get into the basic plank position keeping your stomach, bum and back tight. Now push your bottom up towards the ceiling and move your shoulders a little bit backwards. Your heels are firmly on the floor and your head is between your arms in extension of the spine. Your gaze should be in the direction of your feet. Your body forms a pyramid with your bottom as the highest point. Now slowly push your hips back to the basic plank position and then continue down towards the floor. Now you are in the hollow back position with your gaze directed up towards the ceiling. Your shoulders are low, away from your ears and your hips are not touching the floor. Repeat this exercise about 12 times.

Plank for the lateral abdominal muscles

Start in the classic plank position then slowly move your hips to the left. Try to keep your hips as parallel to the ground as possible. Then change sides by pushing your hips to the right. Repeat this exercise 12 times per side.

Plank with leg lifts

This variation is similar to the plank with hip flexion. The difference is that when you push your bottom towards the ceiling, you also lift one leg (stretched out). When you move forward, the leg goes sideways and tries to touch your elbow with the knee. Repeat this exercise 12 times per side.

One-legged plank with leg abduction and adduction

Get into the classic plank position. Now lift one leg so that it is parallel to the ground. Hold the tension. Then slowly push the lifted leg to the side and back again so that it crosses over your other leg. Again, you should repeat the exercise 12 times.

Plank with leg rotation

Begin in the classic plank position again. Then lift one leg to the ceiling. Your knee should be slightly bent. Move your leg from top to bottom and to the opposite side. The foot on the floor should be rotated inwards throughout the entire exercise. Repeat this exercise 12 times per side.

Plank with arm rotation

Start in the classic plank position. Then lift one arm up to the side and turn your upper body slightly towards it, following your hand with your gaze. Return to the starting position, but stretch your extended arm between your upper body and the other arm out to the other side. Keep your gaze on your hand at all times. Repeat the exercise 12 times per side.

Lateral bench support with leg and arm

Start by lying on your side and go into the plank position with only one forearm. Your lower leg is resting on the floor. Now lift your hip so that only one forearm and one foot are touching the floor. Now simultaneously lift your stretched upper leg and your free arm. Do this exercise 12 times per side.


Typical mistakes with the plank

Equipment and Exercising
  • Body not in a straight line: avoid sticking your bottom up in the air or letting your hips sag. This reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Incorrect head posture: your head should be positioned as an extension of your spine. Avoid stretching your neck or letting your head hang down. Your gaze should be focuses on the ground a few centimetres in front of you.
  • Collapsed back: avoid sinking your upper body, this causes pain in your lower back. Your body should form a straight line.
  • Bent knees: your legs should always remain straight. Do not lower your knees as this will reduce your body tension and thus the effectiveness of the plank.

In which training plans do planks appear?

You can integrate the plank into any whole body workout. If you would like to learn more about training specific body regions, take a look at our pages on abdominal training, bum training and back training.



Frequently asked questions and answers

The plank strengthens the entire body, especially the torso, back, legs, hip and buttock muscles, shoulders and chest.

  1. Plank with hip flexion: get into the basic plank position keeping your stomach, bum and back tight. Now push your bottom up towards the ceiling and move your shoulders a little bit backwards. Your heels are firmly on the floor and your head is between your arms in extension of the spine. Your gaze should be in the direction of your feet. Your body forms a pyramid with your bottom as the highest point. Now slowly push your hips back to the basic plank position and then continue down towards the floor. Now you are in the hollow back position with your gaze directed up towards the ceiling. Your shoulders are low, away from your ears and your hips are not touching the floor. Repeat this exercise about 12 times.
  2. Plank for the lateral abdominal muscles: start in the classic plank position then slowly move your hips to the left. Try to keep your hips as parallel to the ground as possible. Then change sides by pushing your hips to the right. Repeat this exercise 12 times per side.
  3. Plank with leg lifts: this variation is similar to the plank with hip flexion. The difference is that when you push your bottom towards the ceiling, you also lift one leg (stretched out). When you move forward, the leg goes sideways and tries to touch your elbow with the knee. Repeat this exercise 12 times per side.
  4. One-legged Plank with leg abduction and adduction: get into the classic plank position. Now lift one leg so that it is parallel to the ground. Hold the tension. Then slowly push the lifted leg to the side and back again so that it crosses over your other leg. Again, you should repeat the exercise 12 times.
  5. Plank with leg rotation: begin in the classic plank position again. Then lift one leg to the ceiling. Your knee should be slightly bent. Move your leg from top to bottom and to the opposite side. The foot on the floor, should be rotated inwards throughout the entire exercise. Repeat this exercise 12 times per side.
  6. Plank with arm rotation: start in the classic plank position. Then lift one arm up to the side and turn your upper body slightly towards it, following your hand with your gaze. Return to the starting position, but stretch your extended arm between your upper body and the other arm out to the other side. Keep your gaze on your hand at all times. Repeat the exercise 12 times per side.
  7. Lateral bench support with leg and arm: start by lying on your side and go into the plank position with only one forearm. Your lower leg is resting on the floor. Now lift your hip so that only one forearm and one foot are touching the floor. Now simultaneously lift your stretched upper leg and your free arm. Do this exercise 12 times per side.

Lie on your stomach and rest your upper body on your forearms. Your elbows should be at shoulder level and your forearms parallel to each other. Your feet should only be touching the floor with your toes. You are now in a floating position and your body is under tension. Make sure that your back does not sag and forms a line with your legs and shoulders. The plank position is similar to the push-up position, except that you are supporting yourself on your elbows and forearms instead of your hands.


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