Plank exercises have been used for hundreds of years in yoga and are now regularly used in fitness classes as one of the best exercises to improve core strength and strengthen the transverse abdominal muscles. Time yourself to see how long you can hold the plank position.

1. Lie on your stomach with your hands flat on the ground alongside your chest. Straighten your arms and lift your body off the ground and into the push-up position. Engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button into your spine. Either stay on your hands or lower your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Both positions are beneficial, but up on your hands works the upper arms and shoulders a little more.

2. Keep your body in a straight line by keeping your bottom down, your pelvis tilted and your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you have a straight plank of wood running from your heels to your head. Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes — the two major muscle groups worked in this exercise.

3. Breathe deeply and gaze at the ground. Hold the plank position until you can’t maintain the correct posture and then lower yourself gently to the child’s pose. Beginners should hold for 15-30 seconds. The planking world record is three hours, seven minutes and 15 seconds.


The side plank will test your strength.

1. Lie on your left side with the whole side of your body on a mat.

2. Use your left elbow and the side of your feet to prop up your body. Your left shoulder should be directly underneath your left elbow.

3. Point your right arm up to the sky. Pull your shoulders back, chest out and imagine a rod running down your spine creating a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat the side plank on the right side for 30 seconds.

  • Only the forearm — running from the ball of your fist to the end of your elbow — should be supporting your weight. Your forearm is pointed perpendicular to your body.
  • Rest the body into the child’s position. On the ground, sit on your heels, move your body forward and down with your head on the floor over your knees and with arms outstretched on the ground in front of your head.

PHOTO: Ceinwen Roberts co-ownner of Positive Lifestyle Training.


© The West Australian

More Health or Mind+Body news: