How to do a Plank-Up

What is a Plank-Up?

Also called Plank Ups and Downs, a Plank-Up is a brutal upper body exercise that should be a part of any bodyweight routine. This exercise will shred your core, burn your triceps, tire your shoulders, and make you think twice before you turn your nose up at bodyweight exercises. The prerequisite for this movement is the Plank, and I recommend that you try doing 3 sets of 30 seconds of the Plank before you try the Plank-Up.  

The Plank-Up is a full-body exercises with an emphasis on the following muscle groups in your upper body:

  • Core
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

How to Do a Plank-Up (Instructions):

Start in a plank position, with your forearms and feet on the ground, and your body extended and back straight. Starting with your right arm, go to a high push-up position with your right arm, followed by your left. Lower your right arm back to the starting position, followed by your left. Repeat.

Trainer Tips for the Plank-Up: 

  • Progression (make harder)
    • Add a weight vest or do the movement with one of your kids on your back. 
    • Perform the movement with your feet elevated.
    • At the top of the movement, do a push-up.
  • Regression (make easier)
    • Perform the movement with your hands on an elevated surface (bench, chair, table, etc…)
    • Perform the Plank exercise. 
  • Application:
    • Do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of Plank-Ups as a part of your core workout.
    • For an absolutely brutal workout, try doing one Tabata with Plank-Ups. 
      • A Tabata is a 4 minute workout, made up of 8 intervals. Each interval is 20 seconds of activity and 10 seconds of rest. There are a lot of free apps for your smartphone that provide an automatic timer for the Tabata workout. I utilize the Tabata Stopwatch Pro.
      • For the Plank-Up Tabata, perform 20 seconds of plank-ups followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat until you reach the 4 minute mark.
Plank-Ups are used in the Layman’s Fitness 12 Week Bodyweight Program, which you can learn more about here.