The push up plank strengthens your core, chest, and triceps. It’s a great exercise to help increase your push up strength, while also building a bulletproof core.
Make sure to keep a strong plank position and a neutral spine the whole time. Squeeze your legs and glutes to keep your hips as stable as possible. To increase the challenge here, focus on keeping your hips square the entire time. Lower yourself down onto your forearms and press back up to your hands while keeping your body as stiff as a board.
Complete this exercise nice and slow to get the full benefit. Avoid rushing.
Push Up Plank Instructions
1. Start in a high plank position with your arms straight and your hands placed directly underneath your shoulders.
2. Squeeze your abs and your glutes, and pack your shoulders. Your head and neck should stay neutral, with your eyes looking a few inches in front of your hands.
3. Keeping your body in a strong plank position, lower down onto your right forearm, followed by the left, so you’re in a forearm plank.
4. While keeping your core tight and squeezing your legs, push your right hand into the ground, followed by the left, to press back up to a high plank.
5. To make this exercise harder, place your feet closer together. Continue to focus on keeping your hips completely square.
3 Common Mistakes
Planks are an incredibly common exercise. And push up planks offer added benefits. It’s a fantastic exercise to build your core strength and stability, and can help you improve your strength while making you more injury resistance.
With that said, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid in order to maximize the benefits of this exercise.
1. Rocking Your Hips Side to Side
The biggest challenge in the push up plank comes from stabilizing your hips. You have to squeeze your glutes and abs in order to maintain square hips as you lower down to your forearms and push back up.
Swaying your hips side to side makes this move easier, and eliminates the anti-rotational core benefits that make this exercise so beneficial. Challenge yourself to squeeze your legs, glutes, and abs to keep those hips from moving.
2. Dropping Your Head & Neck
Yes, your head is heavy. But that’s no reason to let your head and neck drop during a plank. Throughout this exercise, you want to keep your neck neutral and your gaze forward. Ideally, keep your gaze a little in front of your hands.
Dropping your head during the push up plank exaggerates forward head posture. It also means that you’re probably rounding your shoulders forward. This means you’re no longer getting the posture-improving benefits of the plank exercise. Now, you’re emphasizing poor posture, and could eventually experience back and neck as a result.
3. Dropping Your Hips
One of the most critical form cues in a plank is to keep your head, shoulders, hips and ankles in one straight line. If your hips are closer to the ground than your shoulders, then your core isn’t doing its job.
Dropping your hips puts a lot of strain on your lumbar spine, and eliminates all of the ab-strengthening benefits. So lift those hips enough to keep them in line with your shoulders, then squeeze your glutes and abs to keep them there.
To make this exercise even more dynamic, you can rotate one arm up to the sky, then the other after you’ve pressed up into the push up position. This is called the push up plank with rotation.
The next time you do a full-body strength workout, add this as your core exercise and let us know how it goes in the comments below.