Although plank exercises are best known for their ab-toning abilities, they are truly a full-body movement that also recruits the triceps, shoulders, chest, and quads. The pike plank is a challenging variation of the basic plank.

“This particular plank incorporates all the benefits of a regular plank while increasing the intensity and adding more muscle at once,” says Jonathan Valdez, RDN, ACE-certified personal trainer and owner of Jenky Nutrition.

When moving through the pike position — where your body forms an upside-down letter “V” — you’ll work your core, engage your chest and shoulders, and feel the stretch through your hamstrings and calves.

Here’s how to master pike plank.

Pike Plank Exercise: Step-by-Step Instructions

Downward dog plank  Pike plank exercise

  • Start in a plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart on the ground.
  • Focus on creating a straight line from the top of your head to your heels, without letting your hips or lower back arch excessively. Draw your belly button toward your spine and squeeze your core to maintain the plank position.
  • Keeping your core engaged, drive your hips up and back into an upside-down “V” position—like downward dog, your heels don’t need to be flat on the ground in pike position. While in the pike position, your head should be in line with your arms, your gaze looking through your legs.
  • Pause when you reach your full range of motion and then lower back into plank.

Progression and variation of pike planks

Once you’ve mastered the pike plank, there are a few variations that can help you get more out of this move. Here are three of our favorites.

1. Arm pike plank

Begin in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and elbows directly under your shoulders. Follow the above steps.

2. Durability Ball Pike

Start in a plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and shins resting on a stability ball. As you move into the pike position, point your toes and use your core to pull the ball toward your hands until your toes are on the ball. Return to the starting position and repeat.

3. Pike jump from plank

Start in a plank position on your hands with your feet together. Jump your legs into a pike position, keeping your legs straight throughout the movement. As you land, return to the starting position, keeping your back flat. Repeat.

4. Pike up the slider board

Start in a plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your feet on top of the sliders. (If you don’t have sliders, use a plastic food container lid or a tea towel on a non-carpeted floor.) Use your core to slide your feet toward your hands as you move into the pike position. Slide back to the starting position and repeat.

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