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Women Planking in Gym

Plank with Arm Raise – How Effective Is It?


You can build your core effectively using planks and the various modifications of that exercise. If you want to improve your endurance and have better balance, then incorporate planks into your exercise regimen. 

One particular plank modification that is worth trying is the plank with arm raise, and we will show you how to do that in this article. We’ll also cover some essential information about these exercises so that you can maximize your benefit and minimize your risks. 

What Is a Plank?

The plank is an exercise that has become very popular in recent years, since we now know that it burns more calories than most other core exercises.

Planks are strengthening exercises that work on large muscles groups all throughout the body, providing enormous benefits and helping you achieve your short-term and long-term fitness goals.  

A plank can be as simple as holding your body off the floor with your palms and toes, extending your arms fully so that the elbows are locked. Then, you can just hold that position for a few seconds and rest. 

There are multiple positions you can do planks in, like resting on your elbows and forearms. You can also hold the plank for longer or shorter, depending on your strength, endurance, and exercise target.

You may do several planks in a single set or just do one and then go back to other exercises in your routine. 

What Is a Plank with Arm Raise?

You can do a variation of the plank that increases the difficulty and requires you to raise one arm while planking. It’s a great way to take your planking to the next level and to target some of the muscles that are not being targeted by the basic plank.

Every variation on the plank should either strengthen muscles that get overlooked or give you a more interesting way to plank to break up some of the monotony, and the arm raise plank is good at doing both. Because it is more challenging than a normal plank, you definitely won’t be bored. 

How to Do a Plank with Arm Raise

  1. To do this version of the plank, you want to start off in the basic plank position. This is essentially a pushup starting position where your arms are locked below you, with your palms supporting you on the floor. Your shoulders and back make a straight, inclined line down to your legs, which are also straight. Your feet are supporting you at their end, keeping the lower end of your body off the floor but closer to it than the upper end of your body.
  2. From that position, put your weight down on your forearms, making sure they point straight ahead.  
  3. You can face straight ahead as you do this and should try to keep your neck straight as well.
  4. Once you are in this starting position, you can then do a plank with arm raise. Just raise one arm while keeping the other one on the floor. The raised arm should be extended out in front of you and be raised to shoulder height.
  5. Hold it there for the count of two and then bring it back down to the starting position, with your upper body weight resting on your elbows and forearms.
  6. Then, you can alternate, raising the other arm while holding yourself up with the arm that is on the floor. 

Make sure that you do not rotate your body as you do this exercise. That hurts your form and will affect some of the benefits of the plank. 

How Long Should You Plank with Arm Raise for?

The typical plank is held for 30 seconds to a minute. If you hold the plank for longer than that, your gains will be minimal, but the exertion will be much worse.

You maximize your benefits by cutting off the plank somewhere in that 30-second window. 

You should hold your arm up for about two seconds when you do the plank with arm raise. This allows you to do several reps in a single set before you need to rest. 

Try starting with 5-10 reps per side to begin with. You can increase from there later on if you want to, once you feel more comfortable. Because you are being active with this plank, you can hold it for longer than a normal plank and continue to reap decent benefits from it. 

What Muscles Does a Plank with Arm Raise Work?

As we mentioned earlier, the plank with arm raise is designed as a core exercise. So, it will work core muscles like your abs and obliques, building up core strength for you. The plank and all of its variations are good exercises to start with to build up enough strength to be able to do pushups.  

Since you are raising your arm for this modification, you will be working the shoulder and back muscles. 

There is some benefit to your lower body as well, but this is primarily an upper body exercise. 

Plank with Lateral Arm Raise

Now for a variation of a variation- you can do a lateral arm raise with your plank, and this will change things up a bit.

You should do this one from the pushup position, where you have your arms locked underneath you and your palms supporting your upper body, and then your toes keeping the lower body off the floor.

From there, raise one arm to the side, lifting your arm at a 45-degree angle to the body. Then, bring it back down to the starting position and alternate to the other arm.

You can do this exercise with resistance bands to make your workout even more effective. 

Side Plank with Arm Raise 

The side plank can be even more challenging than the regular plank.

You will need to support yourself on one elbow while your body is positioned sideways. You support the lower body with the side of your foot and keep your two feet pressed together.

From this position, raise the upper arm straight in the air, hold it for a two-count, and then let it back down to rest on your side.

You can do 10-15 reps of this and then switch over to the other side and the other arm can get the same exercise. 

Plank with Alternating Arm and Leg Raise

There is one more variation we want to share with you, and this one tries to incorporate as much of the body as possible into a traditional plank.

  1. You should start out in the pushup position, also called a raised plank position.
  2. Your arms should be locked straight down underneath you, with palms supporting on the floor.
  3. Your toes should be supporting your lower body, and you want to keep the line of your shoulders, back and legs as straight as possible.
  4. Then, raise your right arm in front of you and your right leg behind you as high as you can comfortably.
  5. Hold them there for a two-count and then bring them back to the starting position.
  6. Alternate to the left side next, and then continue alternating until you have completed your set. 

Planks require strength and balance, and if you struggle with the basic plank, you may not be ready for these variations just yet. Keep in mind that your body should be straight as much as possible while doing these kinds of planks, if you want to get the most benefits from the exercise. 

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