Move of the Month from SVPT Fitness: Plank Challenge

Planks are a low-risk exercise to strengthen your core, which is essentially the muscles between your shoulder joint and hip joint. Strong and resilient core muscles give the body the ability to perform movements in all planes of motion to perform sports or daily activities without pain.

Planks can help reduce low-back pain, improve posture and reduce injuries by working rectus and transversus abdominis of the abs, the erector spinae, trapezius and rhomboids of the back, the rotator cuff and deltoids of the shoulders, the pectorals and serratus anterior of the chest, the quadriceps and gastrocnemius of the legs and, finally, the gluteus maximus!

Are you a plank master? Or are you simply bored of your usual plank? Well it’s time to take things up a notch and challenge yourself! Try these 3 variations for more variety and challenge.

  • Arm or Leg Lift: Raise your arm or leg 1 inch off the floor, and hold for a 2 second count, being sure to not let your body rotate. You can alternate arms or legs, or arms and Aim for 8-12 reps total, based on fitness level, for 3-4 sets.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: Breathe in deep and exhale forcefully without losing position. Aim for 6-10 breaths total, based on fitness level, for 3-4 sets.
  • Tension (Put Elbows to Your Toes): Try to pull your elbows towards your toes (without actually moving your elbows), without losing position, and hold (keep tension). Aim for 10-30 second hold, based on fitness level, for 3-4 sets.

Keys for Success:

  • Make sure elbows are directly under shoulders
  • Pelvis should be tucked, with a neutral spine (flat back)
  • Feet should be about hip width apart (the closer the feet are together, the more challenge)
  • Neck stays neutral (look at the floor, not up)
  • If you feel your lower back when doing a plank, check your hip height (make sure its not sagging) and make sure your pelvis is tucked under


By SVPT Fitness & Athletics

This website is for informational purposes only. Consult a physician before performing any exercise program, including the programs on this website. It is your responsibility to evaluate your own medical and physical condition, or that of your clients, and to independently determine whether to perform, use or adapt any of the information or content on this website. Any exercise program may result in injury. By voluntarily undertaking any exercise displayed on this website, you assume the risk of any resulting injury.


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