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What Is a Plank Push-Up?

author image Max Roman Dilthey
Max Roman Dilthey is a science, health and culture writer currently pursuing a master's of sustainability science. Based in Massachusetts, he blogs about cycling at
What Is a Plank Push-Up?
Plank push-ups can bring added benefits to your traditional push-up routine. Photo Credit: jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

A plank push-up is a match made in heaven. This exercise combines all the core workout of a plank, with the added arm, shoulder and back workout of a push-up. These muscle groups engage in one exercise that you can do without any equipment. Use a plank push-up to bring new abdominal exercises into your push-up routine, taking your workout to the next level.

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The Fundamentals

A plank push-up starts like any other push-up.

Step 1

With your toes on the floor, lift your body off of the ground using your arms, and lift your knees off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your heels to the back of your neck.

Step 2

Instead of bending your elbows to lower down as you would with a traditional push-up, slowly lower one arm until your forearm and elbow are resting on the ground. Carefully lean on that forearm, and bring your other arm down to rest on the ground in the same way. You should now be in the plank position.

Step 3

Hold the plank for one count, and then slowly return to the push-up position, one arm at a time. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Benefits of a Plank

The plank half of the plank push-up engages your core, which offers a myriad of additional benefits. A strong core is the foundation of all kinds of movements and exercises. Building up your core helps athletes develop more power for motions like throwing, pulling and lifting.

For the rest of us, core workouts build stability and strength for daily motions like picking up a package or moving a couch. Even everyday motions like sitting, standing and turning around call on the muscles of your core.

Read More: What Are The Benefits of Core Strength Training?

Benefits of a Push-Up

Push-ups are one of the most common exercise moves for a reason. “It’s a multi-joint exercise that targets your pecs, triceps, deltoids, abdominals and all of your key muscle stabilizers,” says Lucas Varella, a Tier 4 coach in Century City, California. This complex exercise pulls together multiple motions to build strength quickly, and it can be done almost anywhere, since you're using your body weight as resistance. Modified push-ups like the plank push-up offer even more muscle engagement and strength-building if your schedule is too tight for a long work-out routine.

This simple bodyweight exercise can be done anywhere.
This simple bodyweight exercise can be done anywhere. Photo Credit: gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Modifying the Exercise

If the plank push-up is too difficult, use a modified plank position to work your way up to a full plank push-up routine. The plank exercise builds muscle in your core and back, helping you reach your fitness goals. Performing a plank exercise against a wall or a countertop can be a great first-step for beginners. Slowly progress to a lower incline until you can hold a plank level with the floor. Once you've mastered holding the plank for 30 seconds or longer, experiment with progressing to the plank push-up.

Read More: How To Get Strength To Do Push-Ups

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