When in doubt, plank it out!
Planks are my absolute favorite exercise! The main muscles that are working during a plank are the abdominals, specifically the rectus abdominis, and internal and external obliques. The important thing to remember with a plank is to have a straight line from your shoulders to your heels with a forearm plank and full plank. Your gaze should be slightly in front of you, without straining your neck. Engage your core and do not drop your back.
Planks don't just have to be performed on the floor. When you are standing with good posture and engaging your core, you are performing a plank! Having your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in alignment are the key points of a plank. If you only do one exercise a day, do a plank. Whether you are on your hands or elbows, you are still benefiting from the plank exercise.
Push ups are just moving planks. Did you know that? If you didn't, now you do! The only thing that changes is the bending of your elbows! There are many modifications of push ups starting with wall push ups. Yes, those count! Do what you can! As you feel more confident in your push ups, find something a little lower such as a counter top or table. When you feel confident and are able to keep your form, give the floor a try! You may just surprise yourself!
Here are three versions of the plank - forearm plank, full plank (hands should be directly under shoulders), and plank modification using your knees if you are not quite ready for a full or forearm plank. When first practicing planks start with 10-15 seconds and work up to one minute. Planks are generally safe for everyone, however, may raise your blood pressure so be sure to check with your doctor if you experience high blood pressure to see if this exercise is one you can include in your workouts.