The plank (also called a front hold, hover, or abdominal bridge) is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up position with the body's weight borne on forearms, elbows, and toes.
The plank strengthens the abdominals, back, and shoulders. Muscles involved in the front plank include:
- Primary muscles: erector spinae, rectus abdominis (abs), and transverse abdominus.
- Secondary muscles (synergists/segmental stabilizers): trapezius (traps), rhomboids, rotator cuff, the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid muscles (delts), pectorals (pecs), serratus anterior, gluteus maximus (glutes), quadriceps (quads), and gastrocnemius.
Muscles involved in the side plank include:
- Primary: transversus abdominis muscle, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles (abductors), the adductor muscles of the hip, and the external, and internal obliques.
- Secondary: gluteus maximus (glutes), quadriceps (quads), and hamstrings.
The current world record (according to Guinness World Records) is held by Chinese policeman Mao Weidong who has smashed the Guinness World Record for the longest time planking after remaining in the position for four hours and 26 minutes.
The Extended Plank adds substantial difficulty to the standard plank exercise. To perform the extended plank, a person begins in the push-up position and reaches their arms/hands as far forward as possible.
- Knack Weight Training for Women: Step-by-Step Exercises for Weight Loss, Leah Garcia. pp. 57. quote:"Plank variations are abundant, and small changes increase the intensity of the exercise."
- Weight Training for Dummies, Liz Neporent, Suzanne Schlosberg, Shirley J. Archer. pp.263.
- Core Strength For Dummies, LaReine Chabut. Quote:"It's used in all yoga sun salutations and other poses. It is also a Pilates-based exercise used in many of Joseph Pilates exercises..."
- Pocket Guide to Fitness Louiza Patsis. pp.176. quote:"The "plank exercise" is used in Pilates classes."
- Kettlebells for Dummies, Sarah Lurie. pp.260. quote:"If you've done other exercises like yoga or Pilates before, you may be familiar with the plank position already."
- The Ultimate Fitness Boxing & Kickboxing Workout, Ross O'Donnell, Trafford Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-1-4120-6451-4
- Media related to Planking at Wikimedia Commons