Forearm Plank

Forearm Plank Pose: Steps to Master and Mistakes to Avoid

The forearm plank is a popular abs workout that is known for its ability to strengthen and stabilize the core. This simple yet challenging exercise engages multiple muscle groups at the same time, making it an efficient workout move. To do a forearm plank, you hold your body in a straight line, similar to the "up" part of a push-up, but resting on your forearms and toes instead of your hands and feet. By maintaining proper form and using different variations, you can continuously challenge your body and improve your fitness level, leading to a stronger, more stable core.

Benefits Of Forearm Plank Pose

  • Strengthens Core: Engages the entire core, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques.
  • Increases Stability: The plank pose builds stability and balance through shoulder and core engagement.
  • Reduces Back Pain: Strengthens the muscles around the spine, which helps to alleviate lower back pain.
  • Supports Overall Fitness: As a compound exercise, it supports overall fitness and complements other workout routines.
  • Improves Balance: Challenges and improves balance and coordination by engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
Forearm Plank

Step-By-Step Instructions For Forearm Plank

  1. Begin by positioning yourself on a yoga mat on all fours. Your shoulders should be directly above your wrists, and your knees should be hip-width apart. This initial position sets the foundation for the forearm plank and helps ensure proper alignment as you move into the pose.
  2. Gently lower your forearms to the mat, placing your elbows directly under your shoulders. Your forearms should parallel each other, with your fingers pointing forward. 
  3. Tighten your abs as you raise your body onto your elbows and toes, distributing the weight evenly between your toes and elbows. 
  4. Keep your body in a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. This alignment is crucial to prevent injury and maximize the exercise's benefits.
  5. When ready, hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then, come out of the forearm plank pose by lowering your knees to the floor and moving into a Child's Pose or lifting your hips and knees into a downward-facing dog.
yoga mat

6 Modifications And Variations

You can modify forearm planks to suit your fitness level. Here, I've outlined 6 adjustments to either make it easier or more challenging based on your strength.

  1. Knee to Floor: if your abs are not very strong, you can put your knees on the Floor. Ensure you maintain a straight line from your knees to the top of your spine. This reduces the load on your core while still engaging your muscles.
  2. Palms Up: Challenge your shoulders by turning your palms up. By taking away some stability, you force your shoulder muscles to work harder, increasing the intensity of the exercise.
  3. Side Plank: When doing this exercise, support your body with one elbow and place your other hand on your hip or point it toward the sky. Keep your feet stacked and ensure there is a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Hold this position until you can no longer maintain proper form, then switch to the other side and repeat.
  4. Forearm Plank Repeater: While in a forearm plank position, lift your right foot and tap your left ankle. Put your right foot back down, then tap your left foot to your right ankle. This movement engages your obliques and challenges your balance.
  5. Single-Leg Plank: When you do a plank, try lifting one leg. It makes your tummy and bottom muscles work harder. Repeat on the other side to ensure balanced muscle development.
  6. Single-Arm Plank: Instead of raising one leg, extend one arm in front of you while holding the forearm plank. This modification challenges your balance and engages your shoulder and upper back muscles.

Modification Of Forearm Plank With Yoga Props

The forearm plank can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and to add variety to your routine. Using yoga props can also help ensure proper alignment and reduce the risk of injury.

Forearm Plank

Forearm Plank With Yoga Block

Place a yoga block between your hands and press your palms against it. This modification helps engage the shoulder muscles more effectively and can improve stability. It also provides a tactile cue to maintain proper arm positioning.

Forearm Plank With Strap

Loop a yoga belt around your upper arms just above the elbows. This prevents your arms from splaying outwards and ensures proper alignment. The strap provides resistance, encouraging you to engage your shoulder and chest muscles.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Even though the forearm plank is a straightforward exercise, common mistakes can compromise its effectiveness and increase the risk of injury. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

Sagging Hips

Keep your hips level to avoid straining your lower back. Maintain a straight line from head to heels and engage your core muscles and glutes to prevent sagging.

Piking Hips

Lifting your hips too high reduces the engagement of your core muscles and shifts the focus to your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line, with your hips neither too high nor too low.

Overarching the Back

An excessive arch in your lower back indicates that your core is not engaged properly. This can lead to discomfort and injury. 

Improper Shoulder Alignment

Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows. If your elbows are too far forward or backward from your elbow, it can place undue stress on your shoulder joints. 

Holding Your Breath

It's common to hold your breath during challenging exercises, but this can lead to unnecessary tension. Practice deep breathing to help maintain the position and keep your muscles oxygenated.


The forearm plank is a great exercise that helps strengthen your core, improve stability, and build endurance. To do it right, follow these step-by-step instructions, use yoga props to make it easier, and avoid common mistakes. Remember, doing the forearm plank consistently and with proper form is key to getting the most out of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Perform A Forearm Plank If I Have Wrist Pain?

Yes, the forearm plank is a good alternative to the standard plank if you have wrist pain, as it puts less strain on the wrists.

What Muscles Does The Forearm Plank Work?

The forearm plank primarily targets the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. It also engages the shoulders, glutes, and quads.