Plank jacks are a great full-body exercise that can help improve your core strength, muscular endurance, and coordination. They involve starting in a plank position, with your hands on the ground and your body in a straight line, and then jumping your feet out and in again while still maintaining the plank position.
This exercise targets your core along with your shoulders and legs, making it a great addition to a warm-up or as part of a core circuit.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you the proper form for Plank Jacks, muscles worked, coaching tips for success, and alternatives you can try out.
How To Do Plank Jacks
- Core (Abdominals and Erector Spinae)
- Adductors and Abductors of the legs
- Shoulders (stabilizers)
- Start in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground.
- Make sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels, and engage your core to keep your body stable.
- From this position, jump your feet out to the sides, landing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Without letting your hips sag or rise up, quickly jump your feet back together again.
- Continue jumping your feet out and in at a steady pace, keeping your core engaged and your body in a straight line until all reps are completed.
If you need to modify the exercise, you can do plank jacks with your elbows on the ground (wrist injury for example). You can also step your feet out and in instead of jumping if you need to make the exercise a bit easier.
The most important thing to focus on is keeping your core braced and your body in a straight line throughout the movement. Don’t rush and get out of control and sloppy with your technique.
Benefits of Plank Jacks
Plank Jacks can offer a number of benefits, including:
- Improved strength: Plank Jacks require you to hold your body in a plank position while moving the lower body, which challenges your core, shoulders, and legs, helping to build strength in these areas.
- Increased endurance: Plank Jacks can help improve your cardiovascular endurance and stamina, especially if done at high volume and/or as part of a circuit.
- Enhanced core stability: By engaging your core throughout the exercise, Plank Jacks can help improve the stability and strength of your core muscles.
Plank Jack Alternatives
Looking for an alternative to Plank Jacks? Here are a couple of exercises that you may be able to use as a substitution.
Mountain Climbers involve starting in a plank position and then bringing one knee towards your chest while keeping the other leg extended behind you. Alternating legs and bringing each knee towards your chest can provide similar core and cardiovascular benefits as Plank Jacks.
Jumping Jacks involve standing with your feet together and then jumping your feet out to the sides while simultaneously raising your arms above your head. Jumping Jacks can provide a similar cardiovascular and leg workout as plank jacks, but with less emphasis on the core and upper body.
Looking for more warm-up exercises to incorporate into your training? Check out the Warm-up Section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of warm-up movements, all with complete detailed instructions.