Fitness columnist Emmet Rushe shows us how to add the perfect plank into our exercise routine.

The Plank isn’t just a great core exercise, when done properly, it becomes a full body exercise.

In addition to strengthening the abdominals, you will also strengthen your lower back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps, glutes, thighs and even your calves.

Additional benefits of plank training include improved posture and balance.


The biggest mistake that you can make when doing the plank is to be relaxed.

Yes, by relaxing you can hold the position for longer, but if you aren’t actively working your muscles during the exercise, you won’t be getting the same benefits and you can end up putting severe strain on your lower back like in the image below.

How NOT to plank

When just starting out, I recommend holding the position for shorter bouts of time (10+ seconds),  After a week or two, try increasing your time (10-20 seconds), and continue this until you’re able to hold the plank for up to 30 seconds.

You will feel a huge benefit from adding planks into your exercise routine, so give them a try and let me know how you get on.


Be sure to watch the video below.

I talk through how you should set up your plank, in order to get a great core workout and also to alleviate strain from your lower back.

If you always feel your lower back working more than your abdominals when performing a plank, you have to watch the video below.


This will be the first in a series of exercise tutorials that I will be doing as part of my Donegal Woman blogs. I will be doing one per month and if there is something that you would like me to cover, please just ask.