Learn to How to Plank the Right Way in Pilates

Plank, or front support in Pilates, is a well-known exercise. It is one of the most popular exercises for developing core strength and stability.

While the Plank really targets the abdominals and shoulder stability, you will find that it is an excellent way to get a full body challenge. In order to do Plank properly, there must be the integration of all the core stabilization muscles. The arms, glutes, and legs are active as well.

The Plank can look like the up part of a regular push up. But, in most cases, a regular push up entails much more strain in the upper body – especially in the shoulders and neck – than plank in Pilates or yoga.

You may want to begin with a modified version of Plank and work up to the full version, especially if you are weak in the upper body or have neck strain issues. Please see the plank prep exercise.

You will know you're doing plank well when you have good form, feel your center working, and have good shoulder stabilization yet are not incredibly rigid.

Full Pilates Plank Pose

Ben Goldstein

Step 1: Preparation

Begin on your knees.

Place your hands on the floor in front of you, fingers pointing straight ahead. Your arms are straight and elbows are not locked. Keep the chest open and the upper back flat and wide. Hold your abdominals strong.  

Lean forward to shift your weight towards your hands. Align your shoulders directly over your wrists. If bearing weight on your hands causes wrist pain, use a wedge or pad to lift the heel of the hand enough to relieve pressure on the joint.

Step 2: The Extension

From the starting position on the knees, keep your abdominals lifted. Step one foot back and then the other to land on straight legs. Keep them held together and send energy through your heels.

Your toes are curled under so that some weight is on the balls of your feet.

Without tucking your tail under, activate your legs and heels bringing them together, emphasizing the center line. Similarly, activate but do not clench your gluteals (butt muscles); think of pulling your sit bones together.

Breathe deeply, allowing a regular inhale and exhale to propel you to the finish line.

Hold your position for five to ten breaths.

Take a break and repeat up to five times.



  • Your body is in a straight line from the ears, through the shoulders and hips, and to the heels. Do not arch or sag.
  • Keep the abdominals lifted throughout this exercise. You want to engage the muscles of the pelvic floor as well.
  • Put some space between the base of your skull and your neck.
  • If you start to shake, release the pose, breathe, and start again.
    Ready for another challenge? Try plank on the ball.