How To Do An Army Crawl Plank

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating an Army Crawl Plank

Army crawl planks are an amazing core body exercise that target not only all your core muscles but strengthen and challenge your upper body as well. If you learn how to do army crawl planks, you will learn how to stabilize yourself during movement and add strength to your biceps, chest and shoulders.

Stablilization is an often-overlooked term in fitness. It’s not as glamorous as six-pack abs or as sexy as sculpted thighs, but it’s extremely important to the health and strength of your entire body. By drawing in your low ab muscles – the transversus abdominus – you learn to keep you mid-section stable no matter what the rest of your body is doing. In the army crawl plank, this is a key factor in performing the move correctly. Try to keep yourself still while moving down and up. Pretend there is a glass of water on your back that you don’t want to spill. It’s hard! All the while you are contributing to flatter abs and a stronger back. This move is well worth your time.

While all of this core activity is going on and making you stronger in the middle, your arms are getting a pretty great workout too! Pressing your bodyweight up and down is not easy task for your arms and shoulders. Most of us find that this is a far greater challenge than a set of dumbbells.

Try the army crawl planks two to three times a week for best results. Include it as part of your regular exercise routine or tag it onto the end of your cardio workout.

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    How To Do An Army Crawl Plank

    Here are the steps to performing an army crawl plank:

    1)  Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.

    2)  Bend your left arm so that it is now in forearm plank position.

    3)  Then bend your right arm so you are in a full forearm plank position.

    4)  Lift your left hand and place it on the mat directly below your shoulder as you push through your palm to lift yourself.

    5)  As you reach the top, place your right palm on the floor under your right shoulder and push back into a full plank.  Repeat, leading with the right arm.

    What Muscles Do Army Crawl Planks Work?

    Army crawl planks are an amazing exercise that strengthens all of the muscles of the core as well as your arm and shoulder strength.

    Benefits of Army Crawl Planks

    There are many reasons you should incorporate army crawl planks into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Stronger Core

    Army crawl planks are, first and foremost, a core body exercise. This move gets your body to tighten and stabilize all of your core muscles while you move between your hands and your forearms.

    Stronger Shoulders

    Army crawl planks strengthen and shape your shoulders. The shoulder is made up of several muscles, the largest of which is the deltoid. The deltoid is the muscle that is the shapely, strong-looking part of the shoulder most people are looking to develop.

    Stronger Low Back

    The core muscle use during army crawl planks also promote a healthy low back. Learning to draw in your transversus abdominus – the low ab muscle – will also teach your body to protect your lower back and strengthen the area that surrounds it. Plank exercises are well known to be the best way to promote a strong, healthy low back.

    How Many Calories Do Army Crawl Planks Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at high intensity. Army crawl planks are a challenging exercise that will get your muscles pumping and your heart rate going!

    Other Exercises Similar to Army Crawl Planks

    If you like army crawl planks and the results you get from them, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

    1. How To Do Crossbody Planks
    2. How To Do Spiderman Abs
    3. How To Do Side Plank Lift and Lower

    Incorporating Army Crawl Planks Into Your Workouts

    Army crawl planks are an amazing exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate army crawl planks into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to get you started.

    Use Army Crawl Planks in a Core Strength Workout

    It only takes 4 or 5 solid moves to get a complete core workout and cover virtually every muscle group in your mid-section. Army crawl planks are incorporated into this next workout that will do just exactly that!

    Sculpted Core in 5 Simple Moves Workout

    Here’s a short, sweet and effective workout for your core that uses army crawl plank as an anchor! For the following workout, perform the exercise as instructed. If you still feel great at the end, try going through each move one more time!

    Oblique Crunch – 15 Reps per side

    Army Crawl Plank – 15 Reps

    Sprinter Sit-Ups – 15 Reps Right leg, 15 Reps Left leg

    Hip Dips – 16 Total Reps

    Straight Leg Toe Touch – 15 Reps


    Use Army Crawl Planks in a HIIT Workout

    High Intensity Interval Training or “HIIT” is well-known by trainers to be the best way to get in your cardio with record time and record results. By doing exercises for 20 seconds at a very high intensity and then resting for 10 seconds, your heart rate stays elevated creating a higher calorie burn and stronger heart. Here is a great HIIT Workout that uses army crawl planks.

    10 Minute HIIT It Hard Workout: No Equipment needed. Just get ready to work hard and get that body in shape in 10 minutes!

    Warm up by marching or jogging lightly for 1 minute. Continue warming up by doing 1 minute of a basic jumping jack. Now do these four moves in a row- 20 seconds as hard as you can for each with 10 seconds rest in between. Repeat the series.

    Squat Jumps

    Army Crawl Plank


    Push-Up Punch(repeat)

    Rest for 30 seconds then go to the next block of 4 moves using the same pattern


    Plank Jacks


    Mountain Climbers

    Use Army Crawl Planks in an Upper Body Challenge

    Army crawl planks help create strong arms and shoulders, especially when combined with other challenging upper body moves. Try army crawl planks in this awesome upper body challenge workout that you can do at home with a simple pair of dumbbells and body weight.

    Upper Body At Home Challenge: This workout uses army crawl planks and covers every upper body muscle and more! Grab a medium pair of dumbbells and go from one move directly to the next. Make sure you repeat 2 times!

    Push-Ups – 12 reps

    Bicep Curl Lunge – 12 Reps

    Tricep Overhead Extensions – 12 Reps

    Squat Thruster – 12 Reps

    Army Crawl Plank – 12 reps/6 per side

    Shoulder Front Raise – 12 Reps

    Cross Behind Lunge Lateral Raise – 12 Reps

    Straight Arm Press Back – 12 Reps

    Reverse Grip Double Arm Row – 12 Reps

    Repeat once more through

    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate Army Crawl Plank you might want to try:

    5 Moves For Fabulous Arms

    15 Push-Up Variations You’re Going To Want To Try

    A Low Impact High Results Workout To Do At Home

    Targets: chest, arms, shoulder, back, core

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