You are currently viewing How to do Plank Pull Throughs: Muscles Worked, Benefits, and Variations

How to do Plank Pull Throughs: Muscles Worked, Benefits, and Variations

As many on-and-off gym goers will agree, holding a plank for even just a few seconds can feel like an eternity, making it one of the most dreaded exercises for many lifters. However, planks are one of the most effective ab exercises out there, helping to improve core strength, stability, endurance, and aesthetics.

If you can relate to the struggle of traditional planks, we’ve got good news for you. We’ve discovered a dynamic plank variation that incorporates moving weights, making it both challenging and engaging. Say hello to the plank pull-through.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about plank pull-throughs, including correct form, benefits, target muscle groups, common mistakes, and variations and alternatives. Not only will you learn how to perform this exercise properly, but you’ll also learn why it’s worth incorporating into your workout routine.

By using the plank pull-through, you’ll be able to get the most out of your core workout without putting unnecessary stress on your joints. Plus, with variations and alternatives to keep things interesting, you’ll never have to dread doing planks again.

So, if you’re ready to shake up your ab routine and take your fitness to the next level, keep reading to learn all about the benefits and muscles worked with plank pull-throughs.

What Is A Plank Pull-Through?

If you’re looking for a way to challenge your core and add some excitement to your workout routine, the plank pull-through is the exercise for you. This variation combines both static and dynamic movements, adding an anti-rotational element to the trunk and hip stability.

While the standard plank requires you to stabilize your body without moving, the plank pull-through takes it to the next level by adding movement. This exercise not only engages your core but also works your shoulders, biceps, back, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to do Plank Pull Throughs: Muscles Worked, Benefits, and Variations

It’s important to maintain proper form during this exercise by keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels and avoiding any hip drops. Additionally, it’s crucial to move through the exercise slowly and deliberately, using a full range of motion.

Although the plank pull-through is a challenging exercise, it’s also incredibly rewarding. As you work to balance your weight on one arm and move a dumbbell from one side of your body to the other, you’ll feel your core working harder than ever before.

If you’re new to planks or looking for a way to progress to this exercise, we recommend starting with the side bridge, perfecting the high plank, and gradually progressing to moves like the plank with a shoulder tap and the plank with a resistance band row. With practice and consistency, you’ll be a plank pull-through pro in no time.

How To Do Plank Pull-Through

Here are the steps to do Plank Pull Throughs with perfect form

  • Start in a quadruped position with a medium-weight dumbbell on the left side of your body
  • Raise your body up off your knees onto your toes, keeping your legs straight and your hands directly underneath your shoulders
  • Engage your glutes and abs to maintain a straight line from head to heels, without letting your hips drop or your back curve
  • Grab the dumbbell with your right hand and pull it underneath your body to the right side, without rotating your hips
  • Return the dumbbell to the left side with control, then repeat the movement with your left hand
  • Alternate pulling the dumbbell from side to side, completing the prescribed number of reps
  • Focus on using a slow and deliberate movement, keeping your body stable and preventing any twisting or swaying
  • Remember to breathe throughout the exercise and maintain good form, keeping your head and spine in line and your belly button pulled in.

Plank pull-throughs Muscles Worked

Plank pull-throughs are a full-body exercise that engages several major muscle groups, including:

  1. Core muscles: The primary muscles worked during plank pull-throughs are the core muscles, which include the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. These muscles are responsible for stabilizing the spine and maintaining proper posture during the exercise.
  2. Shoulder muscles: Plank pull-throughs work the shoulder muscles, including the deltoids and rotator cuff muscles. These muscles are responsible for moving the dumbbell under the body from side to side.
  3. Back muscles: The back muscles, including the erector spinae and latissimus dorsi, are also engaged during plank pull-throughs. These muscles help to maintain proper posture and stability during the exercise.
  4. Gluteal muscles: The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are engaged during plank pull-throughs. These muscles are responsible for stabilizing the hips and maintaining proper alignment of the pelvis.
  5. Hamstring muscles: The hamstring muscles, including the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, are also worked during plank pull-throughs. These muscles help to stabilize the knee joint and maintain proper alignment of the lower body.
  6. Biceps muscles: The biceps muscles, including the biceps brachii and brachialis, are engaged during plank pull-throughs. These muscles are responsible for pulling the dumbbell under the body from side to side.

Plank Pull-Through Benefits

Plank pull-throughs are an advanced exercise that provides a range of benefits to the body, including:

Improved Core Strength

Plank pull-throughs are a highly effective compund exercise that work the entire core, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back. The constant stabilizing required to prevent hip rotation and maintain proper form engages the core muscles even more than traditional planks.

Increased Muscle Endurance

Since the plank pull-throughs are a combination of dynamic and static exercises, they engage both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. This results in improved muscle endurance and overall physical stamina.

Better Balance and Coordination

By requiring the body to maintain stability while performing a dynamic movement, plank pull-throughs enhance balance and coordination. They challenge the body to maintain proper form and control throughout the exercise.

Improved Posture

As the exercise targets the core muscles, which play a significant role in maintaining proper posture, plank pull-throughs can help improve posture and alleviate back pain.

Engages Multiple Muscle Groups

Plank pull-throughs work more than just the core muscles. They also engage the shoulders, biceps, back, glutes, and hamstrings, making it a highly efficient full-body exercise.

Enhances Athletic Performance

Since plank pull-throughs target the core muscles, which are essential for athletic performance, they can help improve athletic performance by increasing speed, power, and agility. The exercise can also help prevent injuries by strengthening the muscles and improving balance and coordination.

Plank Pull-Through Variations

There are several plank pull-through variations that can help keep your workout routine fresh and challenging. Here are some variations to consider:

Single-arm plank pull-through

This variation is similar to the standard plank pull-through, but you use only one arm to pull the weight through. This increases the demand on your core muscles and also challenges your balance and stability.

Medicine ball plank pull-through

Instead of a dumbbell, you use a medicine ball to pull through. This variation adds an extra element of instability and requires you to engage more muscles to maintain your balance.

Resistance band plank pull-through

Using a resistance band instead of a weight allows you to work your muscles through a wider range of motion. This variation also adds an extra element of resistance, making it more challenging.

Renegade Row

Man at gym demonstrating how to do Renegade Row

The renegade row is an incredibly effective exercise to build a solid back while strengthening your core. It involves performing dumbbell rows while holding a plank. Instead of pulling the weight through, you perform a row with each arm while holding a plank position. This variation works your back muscles in addition to your core.

Plank with leg lift and pull-through

This variation involves lifting one leg off the ground while pulling the weight through with the opposite arm. This adds an extra challenge to your core and also targets your glutes and hamstrings.

Plank jacks with pull-through

In this variation, you perform a plank jack (jumping your legs apart and together) while simultaneously pulling the weight through. This adds a cardio element to the exercise while still targeting your core and upper body.

These variations can be used to keep your workout routine challenging and engaging. Remember to always start with the basic plank pull-through and progress to these variations only when you have mastered the basic technique.


Plank pull-throughs are an advanced exercise that combines the benefits of planks with the added challenge of dynamic movement. By incorporating this exercise into your fitness routine, you can improve your core strength, enhance your stability, and target multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Additionally, there are several variations of the plank pull-through that you can try to make the exercise more challenging or to target specific areas of your body. However, it’s essential to ensure that you have proper form and technique before progressing to more advanced variations.

By following the steps and guidelines outlined in this article, you can perform plank pull-throughs safely and effectively to achieve your fitness goals.


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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