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Plank Jacks – Learn Perfect Form To Add Cardio To Your Core Work

A plank jack may vaguely sound like something you’d find in a hardware store, but it’s a powerful workout that’s gaining popularity in HIIT, core, and circuit training programmes.

Holding a static plank is wonderful for your core, but combining it with a jumping jack motion with your feet takes it to the next level. The plank jack is a wonderful aerobic motion since it works both your lower and upper body while raising your heart rate.

Plank jacks are a core-strengthening and aerobic workout. They can help you strengthen your upper and lower body muscles. Adding plank jacks to your workout a few times a week will help you build core strength and stability, burn calories, and improve your posture.

In this post we will discuss how to do a plank jack, which muscles it targets, and how to include it into your workout routine for improved core strength and fitness.

How To Do Plank Jacks

Start with 2–3 sets of 30–60 seconds or 10–20 repetitions for plank jacks. You may determine the length of time or number of repetitions based on your ability to maintain appropriate technique throughout all sets and repetitions.

  • Start on all fours, with your knees and toes flexed and in contact with the ground. Hips should be higher than knees. The width of your hands should be somewhat bigger than the width of your shoulders.
  • Brace your core as you begin jumping your feet outside of your shoulders, and then bring them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement as quickly as you can, as if you were doing a horizontal jumping jack.
  • Continue for as many repetitions or as long as desired. Alternatively, you may begin with 20–30 seconds and build up your time.

Pro Tip: To achieve ideal form, make sure your shoulders are directly above your elbows, your neck and spine are long, your hips are aligned with your shoulders, and your torso is steady.

Muscles Worked In Plank Jacks

girl doing plank jacks workout

The execution of plank jacks requires you to maintain isometric hold (of plank) while also generate motion while moving hips and legs.

To keep your body straight, they activate the internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, and other core muscles. 

Plank jacks activate your posterior chain muscles to keep you stable. The hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, rhomboids, rear delts, and lats are among the muscles engaged. Plank jacks also help you maintain a solid plank posture by activating the forearms, biceps, triceps, front deltoids, and pecs because you’re elevated off the floor.

And then there’s the exercise’s dynamic phase. When you hop, your abductors pull your legs away from you, and when you return to the beginning position, your adductors pull them back toward your midline. The calves (gastrocnemius and soleus) and quads, meanwhile, play a role in the explosive hop.

Benefits Of Plank Jacks

girl showing off muscles made by doing plank jack exercise

Strengthens Core Muscles

Plank jacks can assist you improve your core muscles. The rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques are all activated in plank and plank variation movements. Muscles in the hips and back are also activated.

According to the findings of a short study with 14 participants, forearm planks needed twice as much abdominal muscle activation as other core building activities like crunches.

The researchers came to the conclusion that planks can help with stability, injury prevention, and mobility maintenance.

Prevents Back Pain

Core muscle strengthening may also help to reduce the risk of lower back pain. Proper spinal alignment necessitates a strong core. As a result, your risk of back injuries is reduced.

Plank jacks may also help with back discomfort if you already have it. According to the findings of a 2017 clinical investigation, six weeks of core stability exercises were more beneficial than other physical therapy exercises in relieving low back pain. The study included 120 people between the ages of 20 and 60 who all had nonspecific persistent lower back pain.

The core-stabilizing exercises didn’t include plank jacks, but participants did include front and side planks in their routines. Plank jacks are a core stabilising exercise, so you might experience similar results if you incorporate them into your programme.

More research is needed, however, to discover how core-stabilization exercises benefit a larger range of people, as well as their impact on persistent back pain caused by specific diseases or injuries.

Helps You Burn Calories

girl showing off toned abs due to plank jacks

Plank jacks are a high-intensity aerobic workout. Cardiovascular workouts can assist you in burning calories and maintaining a healthy weight. They may also aid in the reduction of blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

Safety Tips

Follow these guidelines for performing plank jacks safely:

  • Throughout the movement, keep your core engaged. This can help to prevent injury to the lower back.
  • Maintain a straight line with your body and avoid allowing your hips to sink.
  • Stop immediately if you feel excessively tired, dizzy, or overheated.
  • You might feel strain on your wrists while in the plank posture. If you have a wrist injury or soreness, plank jacks should be avoided or modified. You can change them by doing them on your forearms instead.

Plank jacks can help strengthen core muscles and relieve lower back pain, but if you have a back, shoulder, or other ailment, consult your doctor before practising this exercise.

Take Away

Holding a static plank is wonderful for your core, but combining it with a jumping jack motion with your feet takes it to the next level. The plank jack is a fantastic cardio move since it works your core, lower body, and upper body all at the same time.

For a comprehensive workout, mix plank jacks with other aerobic and core exercises. Begin by incorporating them into your core or HIIT exercise a couple of times a week. Always consult your doctor before incorporating new cardiac exercises into your programme.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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