What Is a Plank Push-Up?

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 push-up planks to bring new abdominal exercises into your push-up routine, taking your workout to the next level.

Plank push-ups can bring added benefits to your traditional push-up routine. Credit: jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images


A plank push-up is a combination of these two strength-building exercises. Your core will thank you.

Plank Push-Up Fundamentals

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

  1. With your toes on the floor, lift your body off 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.
  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.
  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 according to Harvard Health Publishing. 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: Proper Push-Up Technique

Benefits of a Push-Up

Push-ups are one of the most common exercise moves for a reason. 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. Not only does it strengthen your shoulders, arms and chest, but it's a mighty core builder as well according to the American Council on Exercise. Modified push-ups like the plank ups offer even more muscle engagement and strength-building if your schedule is too tight for a long work-out routine.

Read more: 24 Essential Push-Up Variations for Total Body Strength

Modifying the Exercise

If the plank push-up is too difficult, begin on your knees 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.

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