Mastering the Plank in 3 Steps

Perfect your plank in just three steps. You'll be stronger than ever!

Exercises like pullups, pushups and planks are bucket-list worthy exercises for two reasons. First: They’re %$*&ing hard. Second: They require strength in muscle groups often weak in female runners—arms, core and back. Although these moves are tough, they’re not impossible. And like anything in life, if you put in the work, you will receive a great return.

We’ve already shared how to master the push up in 4 steps. Now we share how to perfect your plank!

Focus on the step-by-step training a few days a week to help you develop the appropriate amount of strength to master each stage of the plank with good form.

Master The Plank

Why? The plank is one of the best exercises to strengthen the abdominals and lower back. A solid core means better balance and may reduce risk for running injuries.
Your challenge: Hold a plank for 2 minutes.

If you are unable to hold a plank for 20 seconds, start with a straight-arm plank hold. With straight arms and toes facing toward your hands, length-en your core and keep your head in line with your spine. When you can successfully hold a 1-minute straight-arm plank, increase to three sets of 1 minute.

Related: Medicine Ball Workouts

When can perform three 1-minute straight-arm planks, lower yourself down to the standard plank position with your forearms on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Work up to six sets of 30 seconds with ample rest in between.

Related: Mastering the Push Up

Your next challenge is to start increasing your time and decreasing the reps. Perform up to three sets as long as you can hold the plank with good form, rest-ing at least 30 to 60 seconds in between. Continue to increase time until you can hold one plank for 2 minutes. Give yourself a pat on the belly!

Try performing a plank while lifting one leg or lifting one arm. It’s harder than it looks!