Plank Progression: Extended to Forearms

Welcome to Day 2 of our Plank Series.  There are many ways to progress your planks.  Obviously some plank progression movements are more difficult than others.  The first progression we suggest is going from a fully extended arm position to performing a plank on your forearms.  For tips on how to setup your plank and make sure you are doing it correctly, check out our article here.

Fully Extended Plank

When starting out with planks, we recommended doing them in a fully extended plank position.  This position is easier than on your forearms as the closer you are to a standing position, the easier the exercise will become, due to gravity.

The majority of your weight will also be absorbed by your palms and not by your elbows, such as in a forearm position.  This focuses on your shoulders, which have to work hard to stabilize you in an extended position.  The shoulders can be a rather unstable joint, so performing an extended plank is also a great way to work on shoulder stability.

If this position is too difficult to begin with, you can start planking on a table counter or on the side arm of your sofa and then progress to the floor.  Also something to keep in mind is if you have any shoulder or wrists injuries, the forearm plank will be much safer to begin with.

plank progression
A fully extended plank is a great place to begin.

Forearm Plank

The forearm plank is the next natural progression after the fully extended position.  As you become closer to the ground, the more difficult the exercise will become and the harder your abdominals will work to stabilize your body.

Since your weight is bearing down on your elbows and not on your wrists, there is a little less pressure on your shoulders.  However, your shoulders will still be activated and working hard.  Once again, if you have weak or injured shoulders or wrists, the forearm position will be much safer for your joints.

If you’ve made the progression, don’t be bummed if you cannot hold your plank as long as you can in an extended position.  This is to be expected since it’s a harder position and much tougher on your core.  Work to complete 2-3 shorter sets and increase your time by 5 seconds each week.

plank progressions
A forearm plank is the next progression.

Written by Sophie DeHenzel
Plank Progression: Extended to Forearms

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