5-Minute Daily Plank Workout

reverse plank programming

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

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Want to improve your core strength, but don't think you have enough time? If you're unsure of which exercises will get the job done efficiently, you're not alone.

Confusion on how to exercise, or how much time to spend working out, might cause you to neglect your core muscles altogether. But targeted core workouts that include plank exercises can help build a foundation for strength and stability.

The Importance of Core Strength

Core muscles include both the deep and shallow muscles of the trunk. Your core provides support for everyday life and stability to take on more advanced exercises. Without a solid core routine, underlying weaknesses can make you more prone to injury. Core strength is a crucial component of functional fitness.

Benefits of a Strong Core

Performing a consistent and effective core workout provides benefits including:

  • A stabilized spinal column
  • Enhanced movement
  • Ideal alignment and posture
  • Improved balance

Risks of a Weak Core

When the core is not exercised on a regular basis, it can become weak, which increases the risk of:

  • Compressed posterior joints of the lumbar spine
  • Excessive anterior/posterior leaning of the pelvis
  • Poor posture
  • Low back pain or discomfort
  • Muscle tension and tightness

Core exercises optimize muscular strength and stability. A strong core prevents injuries to the knees, hip joints, and lumbar spine. Core muscle stability helps relieve back pain by supporting good posture.

Build Core Strength With Planks

Developing a strong core will provide a better workout experience. It will round out your fitness program and help you maintain good form throughout each movement. You may already be familiar with some common core exercises, including crunches and bridges.

One of the best ways to strengthen your core is through planks. Studies show that planks produce excellent core muscle activation, which supports the recommendation of planks for both trained athletes and exercisers alike.

5-Minute Daily Plank Workout

The following 5-minute plank workout offers a quick and effective exercise routine that includes a variety of planks to strengthen your core each day. Before you get started, warm up. You might opt for a brisk 1 to 2 minute walk or jog followed by a light stretches.

To reach the full five minutes, perform each of the following plank exercises twice in a row.

Straight Arm Plank

Plank Pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
  1. Start in a push-up position on the floor with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be under your shoulders.
  2. Maintain straight arms, with toes tucked.
  3. Keep your core tight and body straight from head to toe. Avoid sagging at the hips or dipping your head.
  4. Breathe through this exercise for 30 seconds.

It's OK if it takes time to build up to the recommended exercise time. Focus on progress, not perfection.

Modification: To make this exercise easier, perform the plank from your knees instead of your toes. You can also hold the exercise for a shorter amount of time if needed.

Reverse Plank

Reverse Plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
  1. Sit on an exercise mat with your legs extended out in front of you.
  2. Place your palms, fingers spread wide, on the floor slightly behind you. They should be positioned outside of your hips.
  3. Press into your palms while lifting your hips and torso toward the ceiling.
  4. Look up to the ceiling, point your toes, and keep your arms and legs straight.
  5. Keep your entire body engaged to form a straight line from your head to your heels.
  6. Tighten your core and focus on pulling your belly button back toward your spine.
  7. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Modification: To modify the reverse plank, perform the exercise while resting on your forearms. Keep elbows at a 90-degree angle.

Forearm Side Plank

Forearm Side Plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
  1. Lie down on your right side on an exercise mat with your legs extended (right leg will be placed directly on the left leg with your feet stacked).
  2. Place your right elbow directly under your shoulder resting on the forearm (at a 90-degree angle).
  3. Keep your head and spine neutral. Your right hip and knee will remain in contact with the floor.
  4. Engage your core to lift your hips and knees off the floor.
  5. Hold this plank for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the other side to complete the set. 

Modification: Perform this side plank exercise with slightly bent legs. Keep your knees in contact with the floor to make the move easier.

Pyramid Plank

Pyramid Plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
  1. Start in a plank position with your forearms on an exercise mat. Maintain a tight core and begin pressing your hips toward the ceiling.
  2. Remain on your forearms, and gently press your heels toward the floor (think of an upside-down "V" shape). Allow for a soft bend in your knees if your hamstrings are tight.
  3. Hold the position briefly, and then lower your hips to return to the plank position.
  4. Push up onto your hands and move your body into a Downward Dog yoga position (hips raised again toward the ceiling) while maintaining a tight core and a neutral spine.
  5. Stretch your heels and chest toward the floor simultaneously.
  6. Slowly return to the plank position on your forearms.
  7. Repeat exercise for 30 seconds.

Modification: You can also perform this exercise from your knees.

A Word From Verywell

Building a strong core is essential for achieving total body strength and stability. Core exercises reduce your risk of injury, relieve lower back pain, and promote good posture. Planks are an effective way to stimulate your core muscles and gain maximum benefits from your time spent working out.

Believe it or not, it is possible to strengthen your core in just five minutes per day. If you can't get through the entire workout as outlined, don't sweat it. Just do what you can, and build up your strength over time.

As always, be sure to consult your physician or other healthcare professional before starting this or any other exercise program.

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Article Sources
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  1. Lee J, Jeong K, Lee H, et al. Comparison of three different surface plank exercises on core muscle activityPTRS. 2016;5(1):29-33. doi:10.14474/ptrs.2016.5.1.29

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