The best way to do the plank
Tense your gluts and abs as hard as you can, and position your elbows somewhere under your chin rather than under your shoulders. According to the American sports scientist Brad Schoenfeld this is the most effective way to perform the plank.
Curl ups, crunches and sit ups are no longer the basic exercises that bodybuilders, fitness fanatics and other athletes use to train their core. In today's world the most important core exercise is the plank. Click here to read why the plank is better than the other exercises.
Trainers have also developed more extreme versions of the plank. One of these is the posterior tilt version. For this you tense the muscles in your mid section.
Another variation is the long-lever plank, for which you place your elbows further forward on the ground than you would for the normal plank, as shown below.
Of course you can combine these two versions of the plank - to do the long-lever posterior-tilt plank.
In his study, which was published in Sports Biomechanics, Schoenfeld attached electrodes to 19 subjects' washboard muscles [rectus abdominis], their obliques and the muscles in their lower abdomen [lower abdominal stabilizers]. He then got his subjects to perform the different plank exercises.
The second-best version was the long-lever plank exercise, Schoenfeld discovered. But best of all was the long-lever posterior-tilt plank exercise.
"The long-lever posterior-tilt plank offers a more challenging alternative to the traditional prone plank that results in markedly greater muscle activity of the core musculature", concluded Schoenfeld.
"Future research should seek to determine whether the increased muscle activation associated with the long-lever posterior-tilt plank transfers to improvements in functional performance and injury prevention."
Sports Biomech. 2014 Sep;13(3):296-306.
Suspensions make your plank exercises even better 27.05.2014
Proof: plank is better for your core than crunches 11.08.2012