Straight Arm Plank

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Straight Arm Plank

Straight Arm Plank is the mother of all plank variations. It’s an isometric core strengthening exercise. It involves maintaining one position for extended period of time. The exercise helps to imporve a posture, prevent or reverse postural deficiencies, strengthen core and tighten up a midsection. Isometric exercises are common for injury rehabilitation or reconditioning.

Holding the plank position recruits a lot of muscles in your body. The rectus abdominis (outer abs) and transverse abdominis (inner abs) are primary supporters during this exercise. Obliques (side abs) are used also to stabilize the position. Excluding abs there other muscles working to hold the plank position such as legs, arms, shoulders and back.

When compared to the planks exercise on forearms this traditional plank variation allows more freedom to the progressions as you can add many different moves in this position. You may find this variations a level easier as well.

Main Target: All abdominal area
Equipment needed: none

There are many different variations of Plank exercise:

How To Do Straight Arm Plank

Although straight arm plank ab exercises can be really effective and beneficial you have to do it with a proper technique. Otherwise you are wastingyour time as you won’t get the expected results. There is no point of imitating the movement if you are not activating the right muscles. And the thing is many people you see in the gym or on YouTube do the plank exercise wrong. Here’s how you can do straight arm plank right.

Step 1: Get In a Starting Position

Go down to the floor and get in a push up position with your arms straight. Put your arms slightly wider than shoulder width and place your hands directly below your shoulders or slightly further to your eye level.

Form a straight line with your body. Keep your legs straight but don’t lock the knees to hyperextension. Keep your pelvis neutral so your butt don’t stick out. Neutralize the spine and neck. Keep your head in a line with your back.

Squeeze the glutes and embrace your abs. Pretend that someone is going to hit you in a belly to really contract abdominal muscles.

Step 2: Hold it!

Now hold the position for the prescribed amount of time or as long as you can without compromising your form and breathing.

If you are just beginning try to hold the position for 20-30 seconds and work your time up. Aim to hold the plank 10 seconds longer each time until you reach 2 or 3 minute mark. Then switch to more advanced modifications of the plank exercise and work your way up.

Modify the Difficulty of Straight Arm Plank

Put your feet closer together to make the exercise a bit unstable and thus a bit more challenging. Or take a wider stance with your feet to decrease the level of unstability.

To make this exercise a level harder raise one arm or one leg of the floor for couple of seconds. Then do the same the opposite side. To make straight arm plank even more challenging try to raise the arm and the opposite leg off the floor simultaneously.

To make the exercise considerably lighter place your knees on the floor.

Tips For the Perfect Straight Arm Plank:

  • Keep your back flat and don’t let it round or arch.
  • Don’t let your hips sag down to the ground.
  • Look down at the ground.
  • If you find hard time to lower your butt and flatten your back, try to bent your knees slightly.
  • To make the exercise easier on shoulders put your hands at your eye level not straight below your shoulders.
  • When your form begins to suffer, terminate the exercise.
  • If you experience lower back pain, stop.

Common Mistakes:

  • Not focusing on fully contracting abdominal muscles.
  • Arching and rounding the back.
  • Lifting the butt up too high.
  • Keeping the head up.
  • Sagging in shoulders.
About Matiss Bartulis

Sweets and pizza addict. Online and real-life fitness coach. Author of the "From Fat To Six Pack" E-mail training course. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.