How to Do Weighted Planks Safely and Effectively

How to Do Weighted Planks Safely and Effectively

If you’ve mastered the high plank and forearm plank, you might be wondering if there’s some way to make them even more challenging, without adding movement into the mix. The answer is absolutely yes, thanks to weighted planks.

Sometimes called “loaded planks,” this variation offers a way to increase intensity, according to Aaron Leventhal, C.S.C.S., trainer and owner of Minneapolis-based Fit Studio. Although it does require extra attention when it comes to setup and safety, taking care to load properly is worth the time.

“By adding weight, your body is under new demands, and it needs to respond by engaging muscles differently, or reacting in ways it hasn’t before with regular planks,” he says. “That definitely keeps it interesting.”

Core moves are central to all of the fitness programs on Openfit, whether it’s Sheriff Abs in TOUGH MUDDER T-MINUS 30 or the COREdio workout in Rough Around the Edges. Start your free trial now!

 

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Weighted Plank: Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Assume a quadruped, or tabletop, position, getting down on your hands and knees, with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips directly over your knees.
  • Have a partner carefully place a weight — such as a sandbag or weight plate — squarely on your upper back.
  • Keeping your core engaged, slowly extend one leg behind you and then follow with the other, assuming a push-up position. Make sure your body is straight and your head is neutral.
  • Maintaining form, come down onto your forearms, stacking your shoulders directly over your elbows.
  • Hold until just before you fatigue, and slowly reverse the movement. Have a partner remove the weight.

Benefits of the Weighted Plank

Why do a weighted plank instead of simply holding a bodyweight plank longer? Here’s why.

  • Builds more strength, where longer bodyweight planks build endurance.
  • Allows you to target different muscle groups based on placement of the load.
  • Can improve posture and form in other exercises thanks to added core strength.

Exercises Related to the Weighted Plank

Even if you’re eager to grab a weight for your next plank, it’s a good idea to work up to the move. Make sure you can do at least 60 perfect seconds of the standard version, and that you’re also able to do some plank variations.

 

Elizabeth Millard

About

Elizabeth Millard has written for Men's Health, SELF, Prevention, Runner's World, and several other health and wellness publications. Based in Northern Minnesota (yes, it's just as cold as you've heard), she's also a rock climber, obstacle course enthusiast, and registered yoga teacher.