How to do plank rows

Carve out those core muscles with plank rows

Posted by for Strength

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: plank row.

A strong core underpins everything when it comes to fitness. Without one, running becomes harder, yoga is impossible and strength training can cause injuries. A great place to start getting those core muscles working is with a plank modification: the plank row.

So, what exactly is a plank row and what muscles does it work?

A plank row is like your standard plank but instead of staying static, you lift one hand at a time – all while keeping the rest of the body absolutely still. Here’s why it’s so effective:

  • Full body workout: While it requires you to lock those core muscles, plank rows are really full-body movements. You need to use your legs to keep still, lift up through the shoulders to avoid stressing the back and have strong enough arm muscles to keep you upright.
  • Adaptable: To make it easier, go onto your knees. To make it harder, add some dumbbells.
  • Great for balance: This really tests how good your core strength and therefore balance is. It’s all too easy to rotate as you move.

Which muscles are worked?

  • This move primarily targets the whole body, including:
  • Rectus abdominus (upper abs)
  • Transverse abdominus (deep abs)
  • Obliques (side core)
  • Glutes
  • Trapezius (upper back)
  • Rhomboids (upper back)
  • Deloids (shoulder)

How to do a plank row

The aim of the game is to avoid rocking. The only part of the body that should be moving is one arm at a time so if you’re struggling to stay still, slow down or take this to your knees.

  1. Start in plank position – on your hands and toes, bum down, hands directly beneath elbows and shoulders. If you’re struggling here, take your feet as wide as your mat for balance.
  2. Slowly take your right hand off the floor, bending the elbow to bring the hand up towards your armpit.
  3. Return slowly to the mat and repeat on the left.

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

Image: Stylist

Share this article

Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

Recommended by Miranda Larbi