Solid Strength with the Plank


A Part of Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series 

The plank is a fundamental core-strengthening movement that is centered on the athlete’s ability to hold his/her body parallel to the floor, on either his/her hands or forearms. The movement requires good stability of the abdominal wall and back muscles so that the back and butt do not sag down, but rather, the body stays in a straight line from head to toe. The plank is a great core-strengthening exercise for not only the stomach (abdominal muscles) but also the back, both of which make up the “core” of our bodies. The core contains some of the most essential muscles because they protect our organs and prevent injury in other parts of the body. Athletes will immediately feel back, abdominal, and even shoulder muscles activated as they perform the movement.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.


  1. Shoulders Over Fingertips: Just as in the push-up position, you will start by setting up the plank position with your shoulders directly over your fingertips instead of back behind your hands. This will engage your core and back muscles appropriately.
  2. Keep a Straight Line: Your body should make a straight line from head to toe while you are in the plank position. Don’t overextend your back by letting your stomach drop toward the ground, and don’t stick your butt up in the air. These are not only unsafe for your back, but they defeat the purpose of stabilizing your abdominal wall muscles and ultimately helping you gain strength in this area.
  3. Squeeze Tight: Think about squeezing your butt (glute muscles) and your abs as you hold the plank position. This will actually help you stay more stable throughout the plank hold, and often it will help you hold the position longer than if you were to let those muscles stay loose.
  4. Max Holds: When it comes to how long you should hold your plank position, the most common recommendation is to hold it as long as you can! Max holds simply mean that you attempt to hold the plank for as long as you can before dropping down to rest. Set a goal for yourself as you complete your max holds to continue to drive improvement. Even reaching for that additional ten seconds of hold time can make a big difference in your core strength!
  5. 30-On / 30-Off: Another variation for how long to hold the plan position is to hold for 30 seconds on and then immediately rest for 30 seconds. Try to perform this 30-On / 30-Off rotation set as many times as you are able before you feel your core hit burn-out. Push yourself for one more set, as we get the most benefit out of the last bit of work we do.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 


Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.


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CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Mark Mancuso started his fitness journey while enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Like most individuals, at first, he only focused on bodybuilding type workouts. Mark learned quickly that focusing just on the aesthetics of the body would get you only so far. In 2013, Mark found out about Crossfit and fell in love with everything that it stood for.

In June of 2015, Mark was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps and returned from his duty station in Okinawa, Japan to his home in Maple Grove, MN. Not having any formal coaching in Crossfit he was on a mission to find a Crossfit Box to call home. Fierce Play welcomed him with open arms, and he hasn’t looked back. Mark obtained his Level One Crossfit certification in November 2015 and plans to add additional certifications in the future. He also intends to compete in a variety of Crossfit competitions as opportunities arise.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification


Owner & Head Coach

Jeff Birthler has a contagious passion for fitness. He graduated and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Personal Training Institute in 2010. On his way, he discovered and fell in love with CrossFit. Jeff hasn’t stopped learning, and still seeks a well-rounded education within the health domain, going beyond physical facets. He has trained clients at several corporate gyms, including Fitness 19 and LA Fitness, as he established a plan for his own gym.

Fierce Play was established in 2012 in a 500 sq. ft. garage. After a few moves and upgrades, it now has a permanent, 4800 sq. ft. location in Maple Grove. Jeff calls it “home”.


NPTI (National Personal Training Institute) CPT Diploma January 5, 2012

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