Benefits: Strengthens the upper body (including wrists) and strengthens/tones the core.
Fitness Levels: Suitable for all levels. Beginners may modify by performing plank pose on knees first, and proceeding to full exercise as strength increases. Persons with carpal tunnel should not perform this exercise.
Begin in a prone table-top position with hands directly under the shoulders and knees directly under the hips. Keeping the upper body stable, carefully step one foot back at a time until you are in a full plank pose, similar to the starting point for a full push-up. The body should be in one line from head to toe, with your head neutral as a natural extension from your spine. Keep the abdomen engaged by drawing the belly button in to the spine and focus on deep breathing in and out through the nose.
Plank pose is wonderful as a solo exercise, or as a starting point for many different exercises and variations. Intermediate to advanced exercisers can attempt the following variation of plank pose: From plank pose lift your right arm and your left leg off the floor at the same time. Reaching through the fingertips and extending through the toes, hold this for 3 to 5 seconds. Return to the starting position then repeat, lifting your left arm and right leg for this repetition. Return to start, and repeat as comfortable. We suggest 6-10 repetitions on each side, depending on your fitness level.