Is It Better To Plank On Elbows Or Hands?

Planking has become one of the most popular core-strengthening exercises in recent years. This simple yet challenging exercise involves holding your body in a straight line, parallel to the ground, while resting on your toes and either your elbows or hands. However, many people are left wondering which position is better – planking on elbows or hands?

While both variations of the plank exercise effectively engage your core muscles, each position offers unique benefits and challenges. Planking on your elbows, also known as the forearm plank, is a popular choice for beginners and those with wrist pain. On the other hand, planking on your hands, also known as the high plank, requires more strength and stability in the shoulders, wrists, and hands. In this article, we will delve into the differences between the two positions and help you determine which one is right for you.

Plank on Elbows or Hands: Which is Better?

Elbows vs Hands: The Differences

When performing a plank exercise, one of the main decisions you have to make is whether to do it on your elbows or hands. The primary difference between the two is the level of difficulty. Planking on your hands engages more muscles, particularly in the upper body, while planking on your elbows is easier on the wrists.

Planking on the hands requires more strength and stability as the hands are farther apart than when planking on the elbows. It also works the shoulders, chest, and triceps more than planking on the elbows. On the other hand, planking on the elbows is less strenuous on the wrists and engages the core muscles more.

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Benefits of Planking on Elbows

Planking on the elbows has several benefits, including:

  • Less strain on the wrists
  • More focus on the core muscles
  • Easier to maintain proper form

Planking on the elbows is a great option if you have weak wrists or if you’re just starting with planks. It allows you to focus on your core and build up your strength gradually.

Benefits of Planking on Hands

Planking on the hands also has several benefits, including:

  • More muscle engagement, especially in the upper body
  • Increased strength and stability in the wrists
  • More challenging exercise

If you’re looking to take your planking to the next level, planking on your hands is an excellent option. It engages more muscles and will help you build strength and endurance.

Elbows vs Hands: Which is Best?

So, which is better, planking on your elbows or hands? The answer depends on your fitness level and goals.

If you’re just starting with planks or have weak wrists, planking on your elbows is the best choice. It’s easier to maintain proper form and focus on your core.

If you’re looking to build strength and endurance, planking on your hands is the way to go. It’s a more challenging exercise that engages more muscles, particularly in the upper body.

Ultimately, the best choice is the one that works for you and your fitness goals. Whether you choose to plank on your elbows or hands, make sure you’re using proper form and breathing techniques to get the most out of your workout.


Is planking on your elbows bad for your shoulders?

No, planking on your elbows is not bad for your shoulders. In fact, it can help strengthen your shoulders and improve your posture.

Can you plank on your hands if you have weak wrists?

If you have weak wrists, it’s best to start with planking on your elbows and gradually work your way up to planking on your hands. Strengthening your wrists through exercises like wrist curls can also help you progress to planking on your hands.

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How long should you hold a plank?

It’s recommended to hold a plank for 30-60 seconds. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the time to 1-2 minutes.

Can you plank every day?

Yes, you can plank every day, but it’s important to give your muscles time to rest and recover. It’s recommended to have at least one rest day per week and to vary your exercises to prevent overuse injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about planking on elbows or hands:

What is the difference between planking on elbows and hands?

When planking on elbows, the weight is distributed through the forearms and elbows. This can be a good option for those with wrist pain or weakness. Planking on hands, on the other hand, requires more strength in the wrists and shoulders. It can be more challenging, but it also engages more muscles.

Overall, the difference between planking on elbows and hands comes down to personal preference and physical ability. Both variations provide a great core workout.

Which is more effective – planking on elbows or hands?

Both planking on elbows and hands are effective for strengthening the core muscles. However, planking on hands engages more muscles in the upper body, including the shoulders and chest. This can be beneficial for overall strength and muscle development.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of planking on elbows or hands depends on individual goals and fitness level. It is important to choose the variation that feels challenging but still manageable.

Is one variation safer than the other?

Both planking on elbows and hands are generally safe when performed with proper form. However, planking on hands can put more stress on the wrists and shoulders, especially if the wrists are not properly aligned.

To reduce the risk of injury, it is important to maintain good form and listen to your body. If you experience pain or discomfort in the wrists or shoulders, it may be best to stick with planking on elbows or modify the exercise as needed.

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Can planking on elbows or hands help with back pain?

Planking on elbows or hands can be beneficial for strengthening the core muscles, which can help support the spine and reduce back pain. However, it is important to start with shorter holds and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercise.

If you have chronic back pain or a back injury, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

Which variation is better for beginners?

For beginners, planking on elbows may be a better option as it requires less strength in the upper body. It also allows for better alignment of the wrists and shoulders, which can reduce the risk of injury.

However, as strength and endurance improve, it may be beneficial to progress to planking on hands to engage more muscles and increase the challenge of the exercise.

After exploring the debate of whether it’s better to plank on elbows or hands, it’s clear that both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. Planking on your elbows is a great way to engage your core muscles and build strength, while planking on your hands can help improve your upper body strength and overall balance. Ultimately, the best technique for you will depend on your personal fitness goals and physical abilities.

Regardless of which technique you choose, it’s important to remember that proper form is key. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line, engage your core muscles, and breathe deeply throughout the exercise. With consistent practice and dedication, incorporating planks into your workout routine can be a great way to improve your overall fitness and achieve your goals. So whether you prefer planking on your elbows or hands, keep pushing yourself and enjoy the benefits of this challenging and effective exercise.

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