Best Ab Move – Arm Positions

Front Planks are a very common exercise that’s incorporated into health, fitness, performance and rehabilitation exercise programs.

I recommend planks all the time.

They can be done on the wall, the floor or on top of a piece of fitness equipment (like a stability ball). The front plank is an exercise for upper body stability, scapular stability, core stability, hip stability, and postural alignment.

Today I have my good friend and Exercise for Injury guru, Rick Kaselj walk us through the specifics when it comes to the arm position during the front plank. These hand positions will help you intensify or modify the core exercise while respecting the integrity of the sometimes unstable shoulder joint.

If you have difficulty or pain with your shoulder, you’ll want to check out Rick’s  Fix My Shoulder Painprogram first. I have plenty of fitness boot camp clients that couldn’t plank but have used this at home program successfully to get back doing this effective core strengthening move.

BEST Hand Position For the Front Plank Exercise

Hand Position #1 – Palms Down

Palms Down

Forearms in line with the shoulders with palms down. This is a common position. With the palms down, it end ups helping with a little bit of balance during the front plank exercise. With the elbows up, you’ll work the shoulder at 90 degrees of external rotation which is good for shoulder health.

Also in this position it allows you to grab the ground with your hands and activate your scapular stabilizers and lats which help protect the shoulder and lower back.

*The key thing to remember is to keep the elbows below the shoulders in order to decrease the stress on the shoulder, especially the rotator cuff.


Hand Position #2 – Palms Facing Each Other

Palms Facing Each Other

If you want to make the front plank more challenging,  move the palms so they are facing each other.You’ll get less help when it comes to balancing with the hands and you’ll rely more on your core to stabilize and balance yourself in this position.





Hand Position #3 – Triangle Position

Triangle Position

This is a more modified position.  You’ll get more help or stability from the forearms. This is an even more stable of a position than hand position #1. It is also good for someone who is not able to get into the 90 degree external rotation of the shoulder (which most people are not able to do). This position puts less stress on the shoulder than hand position #1 and #2.





Hand Position #4 – Genie Position

Genie Position

This is a very powerful position as you get lots of help from the forearms and the shoulder to create a stable position. This is a good position if you are going to do a front plank into a side plank and then back into a front plank position and it tends to put the shoulder in its best and safest position.

Those are the different positions of hand placement as it relates to a Front Plank position.

You need to select the best position for you to do depending on your strength and the stability of your shoulder.

Many of my clients complain of shoulder issues. The shoulder can be debilitating if it’s not taken care of but there are actually some very simple ‘at-home’ solutions.

My friend Rick, takes you through a simple diagnosis based on range of motion and pain points and then instructs you on surprisingly simple and easy to follow ‘re-hab’ and strengthening exercises that can be done with little or no equipment right at home.

If you’re looking for a program to help you overcome your shoulder pain, check out Fix My Shoulder Pain.


Fix your shoulders and then get doing these planks which are an important part of your core strengthening routine.