Of my favorite top five, the plank is one of the most versatile multi-muscle exercises and should be a component of every fitness program. The basic plank can be performed from the elbows and forearms down position or up as depicted above. In the plank position, the hips should be down but not sagging and the head and neck should be just a natural extension of the body. If performed correctly, a broomstick should be able to balance perfectly from head to heels. Pull the abdominals in while contracting the buttocks, and quadriceps and be sure to breathe naturally. Work on maintaining the position for as long as possible, holding your body in place against gravity. Planks and variations are great for overall stability, strength, and balance.