The Right Way

Bear Planks Work Your Arms, Core, and Glutes in a Single Move—Here’s How To Do Them

Zoe Weiner

The standard plank may get all the glory for working your core, arms, and glutes, but if you want to light a little extra fire in those areas, the bear plank is your best friend (or, as far as muscle soreness is concerned, your worst enemy).

The move involves holding your body in the quadruped position and hovering your knees off of the floor. Since you're lifting nearly all of your body weight in order to do it right, you need to seriously squeeze through your glutes and core, which isn't exactly for the faint of heart. But with the right coaching—and a whole lot of core strength—you've got this.

Keep reading for the biggest mistakes Traci Copeland, a trainer and Nike run coach, sees people making in their bear planks, then press play on the video above to find out how to do 'em right and make your body roar.

1. Too-high hips

Though raising your hips might make your bear plank easier, it's technically cheating—you won't be able to reap the full benefits of the move unless your core is engaged and your body is in a straight line.

2. Misplaced knees and hands

When you're in a bear plank, you want to think about keeping your entire body even—as if you're creating a square between your midsection and the ground. To do this, be sure to keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips—don't let them splay outward. For added support, splay through your hands and keep

3. Arched back

Just like in your standard plank, proper bear plank form requires you to keep a straight, solid line from the top of your head down to your butt. This requires some serious core engagement, which is why Copeland often sees people arching their backs in the move. "Arching your back puts unnecessary pressure on your lumbar spine," she says. To prevent this, think about squeezing through your glutes and core in order to keep your spine neutral.

Oh hi! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for cutting-edge wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly. 

Experts Referenced

Loading More Posts...