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) for the plank position is 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds set in Newport, Kentucky on 20 April 2013 by George Hood. On June 13, 2014 a Danish news paper reported that 51 year old fitness instructor Tom Hoel broke this record in Frederikssund by holding the plank position for 3 hours and 8 minutes.
On June 24, 2014 China Daily USA reported that George Hood maintained his body in the physically demanding plank position for four hours and one minute on June 23,2014 which broke the Guinness World Record for "longest time in an abdominal plank position", smashing his own previous record of three hours and seven minutes set in 2013.
- 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
- "Guinness world record for plank". April 20, 2013.
- Pedersen, Thomas Sten (June 13, 2014). "Tom Hoel er ny verdensmester i planke" [Tom Hoel is new World Record Holder of the Plank]. Frederiksborg Amtsavis (in Danish) (Hillerød). Retrieved June 15, 2014.
- Sun, Xiaochen (June 24, 2014). "“Guinness record for plank set in Beijing". China Daily USA (in English) (Beijing, PRC). Retrieved June 24, 2014.
- Media related to Planking at Wikimedia Commons