The plank is sort of the Kate Moss of fitness. It goes in and out of the spotlight, but it never goes out of style — and with good reason. It gets the job done. We all know that doing a plank is a really good, whole-body exercise, and, even more importantly, it lays the foundation for so many other fitness moves. There's only one problem: It's really easy to do it wrong.
Just as a good plank can do wonders for your body, a bad plank can lead to real injury. Push too hard in the wrong direction, and you can wind up with anything from a pulled muscle to a sprained back. Here's the good news: It's just as easy to do it right.
We got this simple, three-step guide from Cadence Dubus, owner of fitness studio Brooklyn Strength, who's seen her fair share of lousy planks. "Either people immediately drop into that sway-backed position, or else they're in a plank but their shoulders have crept up to their ears," Dubus explains. She frequently shows her students this basic trick for getting into the perfect plank, and that's when it clicks. "They suddenly feel that this really is a total-body exercise," she says. If you're doing this right, she says, you're creating more mobility and stability in everything from your feet to your fingertips.
Yes, a good plank is difficult, but it's not complicated. Here's how to do it.