Elbow Plank

Elbow Plank – Easy Exercise For Improving Core Strength

Elbow plank is a beginner skill. You will hold a position similar to a push up with your elbows on the ground instead of your hands. This skill is a part of one arm push up progression. It will help you start your journey to one arm push up.

Elbow planks will help you build the basic strength of your core muscles. You will need this strength to tackle harder skills in a progression.

Elbow plank is an isometric hold exercise. This means you will be holding one position without moving. You hold this position as long as you can.

When you can do 3 sets with 45 second hold in each set you reached mastery of this skill.

Main benefits

Elbow planks are an easy calisthenics skill with several benefits like:

  • Beginner friendliness: Since elbow planks are fairly easy to do they are useful for beginners. If you are just starting out with your workouts, this exercise might be great for you.
  • Core strengthening: This skill will help you strengthen your abs and lower back muscles. You will develop some basic core strength by doing elbow planks.
  • Convenience: Because you don’t need any equipment for this exercise it’s very convenient. You can do it anywhere you are.
  • Improved balance: To keep your body in an elbow plank position you will need to balance on your feet and your elbows. This skill will help you improve your balance over time.

Elbow plank muscles worked

Elbow planks are great for targeting your core muscles. It will work your abs and lower back. But other muscles like the muscles in your legs, arms, and shoulders will also help.

Elbow plank muscles worked:


  • Abs
  • Obliques
  • Lower back


  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Hip flexors


This is a beginner skill that can be done regardless of how far you are in your fitness journey. Meaning, it requires almost no prerequisites. Nevertheless, some things should be taken into consideration before doing it:

  • Proper warm up: Whatever exercise you do, it’s good practice to warm up before a workout. It’s easy to get injured if you skip warm up. So, before doing elbow plank, you should start with a warm up.
  • Shoulder mobility: Your shoulders will have to bear some load in this exercise. When you are doing your warm up, don’t skip shoulder mobility exercises. They will prepare your shoulders for increased load.
  • Core strength: Even though this move is easy to do, it will need some core strength. If you go through one arm push up progression step by step, you can safely prepare your body for this exercise. Even if you are just starting out.


Elbow planks can be done without any equipment. This makes it a great choice when you don’t have access to a gym. For convenience, you may want to use an exercise mat. Exercise mat will reduce discomfort and pain, especially at your elbows.

Optional equipment:

How to perform an elbow plank


Start on all four. Your weight should be on your knees and elbows. Raise your knees off the ground to assume an elbow plank position. When your body from your head to your feet is in a straight line you are in an elbow plank position. Your feet and your forearms are on the ground.


Tighten your core muscles and make sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your feet. Try to align your elbows underneath your shoulders.

Hold this position as long as you can.

If you are just starting out, strive to get a 30 second hold for 3 sets. If you have enough strength you may be able to hold this position for a minute or longer. This is an indication you can move on to harder exercises in a progression.

Common mistakes

Even though this skill is easy, there are some mistakes you would want to avoid. Here are the most common ones:

Hip misalignment

Elbow Plank


If you are starting out and don’t have a feeling about this skill, you may have a problem keeping your body in a straight line. Usually, your hips will sag, or you will have your butt up in the air. In both cases, your hips are not aligned with the upper and lower part of your body.


If you have a mirror nearby, or you can record yourself, you can easily spot this mistake. To correct it, engage your core muscles and make your body rigid. Make sure your entire body from your head to your feet is in a straight line. If you see misalignment, move your hips up or down to correct your position.

Holding your breath


In all exercises, you should breathe the whole time. If you find yourself holding your breath, you are not allowing proper oxygenation for your body. This will make your workout effort less effective.


The first step in correcting this mistake is making yourself aware of your breathing. If you think about it, you will notice if you are holding your breath or not. When you notice it, you just have to make a conscious decision to breathe throughout the entire duration of this exercise.

Elbow plank progression

Elbow plank is one of the easiest skills in one arm push up progression. There are only a handful of exercises that are easier to do.

Here are those easy skills you can do if elbow planks are too hard for you:

At some point, you will feel elbow planks are too easy. When this happens, you can try more difficult skills.

Here are a few examples of the harder skills you can try:

It will be a good idea to tackle one exercise at a time. Once you reach the prerequisites for the next exercise, try the next one in progression. If you skip exercises, you may get injured.

Key takeaways

Elbow plank is an easy calisthenics skill. It will help you build your core muscles and prepare your body for harder skills.

You don’t need any equipment to do this exercise. So, you can do it at your office, at your home, or on vacation.

Because it’s so easy to do, you will quickly outgrow it. Luckily there are a lot of harder skills you can explore when this happens.

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