The bulk of our abdominal muscle training should come in the form of core stabilization exercises. The plank is one of the most well-known core stabilizers due to its simplicity and effectiveness.
Many variations exist, but the Plank Row is one of our favorites. It significantly increases the difficulty of the exercise, while incorporating upper body rotation and balance.
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Okay, let’s get started.
PLANK ROW FORM VIDEO
BENEFITS OF THE PLANK ROW
- Effectively teaches core stabilization by strengthening the abdominal muscles’ ability to resist spinal extension.
- Activates the Oblique muscles more than a regular Plank by forcing you to balance yourself while rotating
- Incorporates upper body rotation and improves total body balance.
MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE PLANK ROW
- Rectus Abdominus
- Transverse Abdominus
- Upper Back
PERFORMING THE PLANK ROW
- Select two light dumbbells and place them on the floor in a vertical orientation, roughly shoulder width apart
- Squat down and grip the dumbbells without picking them up
- Assume a Push-Up position, with your elbows locked out, while still maintaining your grip on the weights
- Set your feet at a stance wider than shoulder width for balance
- Keep your core muscles, as well as your glute muscles engaged
- Ensure that your spine is in a flat neutral position
- Begin the exercise by lifting either dumbbell up to your chest
- Keep your elbow tucked and close to your body
- From this point, rotate your upper body without changing your spinal alignment so that you can bring the dumbbell all the way up in your outstretched arm
- From this position, we should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from the dumbbell, all the way down to your hand that is still in contact with the floor
- Slowly reverse the movement by bringing the dumbbell back down to your chest, and then slowly back down to the starting position
- Repeat the same movement on the other side
COMMON PLANK ROW MISTAKES
LETTING YOUR SPINE SAG
- Keep your core and glute muscles engaged throughout the entire lift. Concentrate on rotating at the thoracic spine while keeping every other vertebrae perfectly aligned.
EXCESSIVE MOTION FROM THE UPPER BODY
- Control the weight throughout the entire movement. This exercise is challenging, ensure that you start very light to obtain the most benefit from the exercise.
HOW CAN I INTEGRATE THE PLANK ROW INTO MY TRAINING?
Check out The WCT Best Workout Template For Busy Professionals to find a simple way to add the plank row and other great exercises into your routine.
PLANK ROW ALTERNATIVES
Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM Certified Personal Trainers, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a resource dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals using time-efficient strategies. Their advice has been featured in My Fitness Pal, Prevention, Livestrong, Reader’s Digest, Bustle, The Active Times, and more. Learn more about them here.