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The Plank 2.0

Make a Good Exercise Better

In the last 5 years, the “plank” has become a part of many workout regimens in an effort to shore up the core. The plank, performed either from the elbows or hands (see image 1 below) is great for balancing the front and back core muscles but it is a relatively static movement, and real life in general is not that static.

The rotating plank allows you to target all the muscles of the core (almost every muscle from your shoulders to your knees) in a dynamic way, in a slow and controlled manner, thereby reducing your chance of injury (any exercise has a chance of injury, so be careful and use common sense when this move is appropriate for you). In addition to your core, other muscles that will be challenged by this exercise will be your chest, shoulders, upper back, triceps, as well as your hip extensors and abductors.



Step 1.

Start in a standard plank position on your hands (image A), or elbows. A more advanced option would have you on dumbbells to add resistance to the subsequent movement.

Step 2.

Shift your weight to your left hand and rotate your entire body around your left shoulder, including your feet (your feet can be stacked or one in front of the other, depending on your confidence).

Step. 3.

Your body should be in a straight line between your head and your feet with your wrists, elbows, shoulders of both arms stacked in a straight line (image B). If you find this too challenging, you can bring your left knee to the ground to add extra stability. Now hold this position until your technique falters.


From this position, you can either hold your position until your technique falters, or increase the challenge by lifting your right leg to increase the balance challenge (image 3). Once you have completed one side, return to the starting position.

Move through this sequence following your breath, changing the movement with each breath. If you need to pause along the way, while still breathing, feel free to do so.

If this is still too challenging, you can perform the movement standing up, leaning against a wall with your feet at least arms length away from the wall, more for more challenge.


As you get better at this movement, you will be able to move a little more quickly, but always stay in control, avoiding excessive momentum.



Rod Macdonald is the Vice President of Canadian Fitness Professionals (canfitpro). For more information on Canada’s largest provider of fitness education, visit www.canfitpro.com.