Plank – to assess core stability

A test to indicate your muscles' core stability

You’ve almost certainly heard of core stability (the strength and function of the deep stabilizing muscles of the trunk) – but have you got any? ‘The plank’ will give you the answer, as it is a position that you will find difficult to hold if your core stability is poor. Simply practicing this exercise movement will soon get your core stabilizers firing.

How to do this exercise

Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor, elbows directly under your shoulders, fists facing each other. Tighten your core muscles, curl your toes under, then press down through your forearms and extend your legs to lift your body. Your head, neck, back and legs should form a straight line (like a plank of wood). Look at the floor. Hold for as long as possible.

Results of this exercise

If you can hold the position (but not your breath!) for more than one minute, then you are strong to the core. A time of 30 to 60 seconds is average, while less than 30 seconds means that you need to work on it more.

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