Plank Exercise: Muscles Used and How to do Correctly


Plank are excellent exercise for your core muscle that already explained in previous article.

But, here you will know; which muscles are activated while doing plank. Moreover, how you can do it correctly with proper form, and the mistakes that you should avoid.

Muscles Used in Plank

Plank is a full body exercise so, it uses the multiple muscles when you maintain the correct plank position.

It greatly activates the following muscles:

  • Rectus abdominis - The main muscle of the abdomen which has the six or eight pack abs. However, this muscle play very important role while maintaining the posture and lifting wright.
  • Transversus abdominis - The transverse muscle of the abdomen is located at lateral sides of the abdominal wall. Moreover, It greatly activated while contraction of the abdomen. Therefore, it play important role such as protect, support and help maintain the abdominal wall tension.
  • Internal and external oblique muscle - Oblique muscles help with bending movement (side to side). They also support the upper body and help control posture and pelvic position while running.
  • Quadratus lumborum muscle - It help tilts the body to the side, and helps with your daily movement.
  • Erector muscles of the spine: The main function is straighten the spine, provide for side-to-side rotation and help maintain posture and head position.

Moreover, there are many secondary muscles used during plank such as:

  • Trapezius (upper back muscle)
  • Deltoid (shoulder muscles)
  • pectoral (chest muscles)
  • Gluteus Maximus ( buttocks)
  • Quadriceps (thigh muscle)
  • Biceps

Recommended read: Running vs Walking Difference

How to do Plank Exercise

  • Place your hands on the floor and legs straight behind.
  • Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms.
  • Raise your pelvis off the ground. Thighs, hips and spine should form a straight line.
  • Look at the floor, contract your core, and squeeze buttocks.
  • The position should be held for a few seconds to several minutes depending on your level.

Plank Mistakes to Avoid

Don't arch your back: most common mistake is not keeping a straight back while doing plank. It increases the risk of lower back pain.

Don't lift your buttocks too high: most people do this mistake to prevent the arch back position. If you raise your butt too high you are not doing it correctly.

Keep your head straight: after few seconds when tension raises, makes it difficult to maintain the correct head position. Instead of moving your head up or down, try to keep as straight as possible.

Don't forget to breath: during plank our body are in static position. However, you still need to breathe in and out.



Can we do plank workout at night?

Of course you can do plank workout 30 min before dinner. Moreover, it will also help you sleep better and boosts metabolism.

Can we do plank exercise after doing cobra pose?

Plank is also a type of yoga exercise as it helps in improving flexibility due to muscle strain. So you can do them after doing cobra pose. Moreover, both the exercise works on the same muscle but has different effect on core muscles.

How long should a beginner hold a plank?

You can hold 10-20 seconds at the beginning, and do 4 sets to complete one minute of plank hold. It will get easier with time and try to increase the duration gradually like 30-40 seconds plank hold after a week.

Does plank reduce belly fat?

Plank help burn calories and tighten the stomach which can help you get a flat belly. However, it does not help directly but it can tone the stomach and improve the abdominal muscles. Therefore, it will help the belly look slimmer.

Is planking better than sit ups?

Yes, because sit ups are not that much effective abdominal exercise. Planks target your entire body which helps you build abs very fast, especially when you do weighted planks.

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