This is a movement for your core (midsection). This will strengthen your abdominal muscles, which in return will support your low back and prevent injury in this area. Every one of us has experienced low back pain or knows of someone that has suffered an injury to the low back.

Why do a lot of people have weak or injured low backs?

The human body was not designed to sit down, but in today's world, more and more people work at computers and sit for 18 out of 24 hours in the day. It is not surprising that most people who don't lead an active lifestyle develop a weak lower back as well as weak abdominals, tight hamstrings, and bad posture. Most chronic injuries we see today are due to bad posture. Since all areas of the body are connected in some way, what affects the lower body will eventually affect the upper body, and the other way around. These two parts meet and connect at the low back and this connection is what takes all the strain and keeps the package together.

How to perform a plank

  • Lie down on your stomach with your legs straight and together.
  • Lift your upper body and place your elbows on the floor where your shoulders were while lying down.
  • Flex (dorsiflex) your feet so your toes are pushing into the floor.
  • Tighten your entire body and lift yourself up onto your elbows and the tips of your toes.
  • Make sure to keep your body and legs straight.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can without feeling strain in your low back.
  • Start with a few seconds and try and add more time as you progress week by week.


  • Don't let your hips sag too low. This will put unnecessary strain on the low back.
  • Don't push your hips up too far. This will transfer too much of your weight onto your shoulders.
  • Make sure you don't hold your breath. Breathe out of your stomach while contracting your abdominal muscles as hard as you can.
  • If this movement causes pain in your back while performing it, STOP. You might not be strong enough for this yet. Strengthen your abdominal muscles by doing alternative abdominal exercises. Try the plank periodically until you feel comfortable doing it pain free.
  • People with shoulder and low back problems should be careful performing this exercise.

Remember to set an attainable goal and have fun seeing yourself improve and getting stronger.

Pieter van der Linde and Rob Tubajon of Endorphin Junkies
with updates by the Mediresource Clinical Team
reviewed by Art Hister, MD
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team