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Is the Plank a Good Ab Exercise?

author image Morgan Rush
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.
Is the Plank a Good Ab Exercise?
An exercise group holding plank pose outside. Photo Credit: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images

Yoga offers numerous poses that help you achieve strong, flat abdominal muscles. Plank pose is a classic yoga posture that’s often used to transition between poses. The Plank is a good ab exercise because extending through your arms and legs creates pressure through your core. Abdominal muscles help stabilize and support your body, maintaining a 45-degree angle with the floor.

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Performing Plank Pose

One way to begin Plank pose is on all fours with your wrists stacked beneath your shoulders and your fingertips spread wide. Your knees should rest on the ground directly beneath your hips. Engage through your core, and then step back with your right leg until it is fully extended. When you’re ready, also extend your left leg back. Your arm and leg muscles are engaged for safety and support, but your abdominal muscles become the primary muscles stabilizing your midsection and torso as you hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

Fine-Tuning Alignment

Core placement is imperative for a good Plank workout. Keep your hips stable and your tailbone pressing toward the back of the room. Lower back muscles should be engaged; lift your belly so that your navel presses toward your spine. Picture the bottom of your front ribs and lift them slightly toward the ceiling while keeping your hips in place. As you continue breathing, use your abdominal muscles to keep pulling your belly up and in. You’re not “sucking in,” but rather engaging to powerfully press the abdominal muscles away from the direction of the floor.

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