Beginners' Guide to Exercise: Plank

The abdominal plank is a great exercise to flatten and tone the muscles of the stomach. It's simple to perform and you don't need any equipment.

How to do the plank exercise:

1.    Lie face down (prone) with forearms on the mat, elbows directly underneath shoulders.

2.    Lift your body upwards so that only your forearms and toes are touching the ground. Keep your legs close together

and face down so that your neck, back and legs are in alignment.

3.    Hold this position for as long as possible, rest one minute and try again.

The primary muscle used in a plank is the rectus abdominus.

Too easy?: To intensify this exercise, lift one leg off the ground. Alternatively, rotate to the side so that your weight is along one forearm and one foot, both pointing away from you.  Stretch your free arm up towards the sky and hold for one minute, rest, and alternate sides.

Safety: Seek advice from a medical professional before starting any exercise programme. Stop immediately if you feel pain. The first time you perform this exercise should be under the supervision of a qualified fitness professional.


By Anna Reich


Anna is a nationally accredited Level 3 Personal Trainer specialising in strength, toning and cardio vascular fitness, with the acclaimed NASM qualifaction in program design and corrective exercise.

Tags: abs, basics, Beginners, beginners' guide, bodyweight exercises, plank, six pack, static, stomach