Build Strong Back Muscles with this Plank Workout

BioSpine Institute

Plank Workout from BioSpine Institute on Vimeo.

Plank Workout Benefits: Builds muscles in the abdominals, shoulders, legs, and lower back, which can help to relieve back pain.
Difficulty: Beginner
Modifications: Two

The ‘plank’ is an exercise that incorporates multiple muscle groups including the abdominals, shoulders, legs and lower back muscles.  Many people perform them to stimulate the abdominals.  This exercise can help strengthen them as well as provide simultaneous muscle contraction. Having strong abdominals can help reduce back pain and provide much-needed support to our spines.

How to Perform the Plank Workout

To properly perform a plank, start on the floor or firm surface on your hands and knees (like starting to do a push-up). Lift your knees up so you are balancing on your palms and on your toes. Your back should be parallel to the floor, shoulders square and knees straight and your butt should not sag. Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible without breaking form.  If this is painful or not possible, perform on your knees keeping your torso aligned with your thighs. If you are still unable to perform and maintain proper form, try on an elevated surface.

Plank Full Position


Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible.

Modified Plank Position 1


Modified Plank Position 2


Plank workout for back pain patients

The Plank is a popular exercise technique for strengthening the back muscles as well as the shoulders, legs and abdominals. It can be a great workout for patients who want to strengthen their back as much as possible before undergoing minimally invasive spine surgery. Always consult with your doctor first before starting any workout routine.

Patients recovering from back surgery should follow their doctor’s instructions on when they can return to normal activities and begin exercising. After the recovery period has passed and the doctor has said it is okay to resume physical activity, performing the plank workout along with other exercises can strengthen your back and reduce any future bouts of back pain. As always, ask your doctor which exercise routines are best for you.

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