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Bear Planks: How to Do With Proper Form, Benefits, Variations, and More

Bear plank is an excellent and diverse exercise to work for multiple muscle groups. Read on to find the correct way to do it and the exercise's variations and benefits.

James Cambell
Bear Planks: How to Do With Proper Form, Benefits, Variations, and More
Table Of Contents

There's nothing quite like the feeling of a good bear plank. The burn in your arms, the shake in your legs, the sense of accomplishment as you push through to the end - it's unlike any other workout.

It's an exciting and challenging workout that allows you to mix things. Named for their resemblance to the way a bear stands on its hind legs, bear planks are a great way to work your core, arms, and legs all at once. This may not seem like much, but it's actually an incredibly difficult feat of strength and balance.

And while it may look like the bear is just taking a leisurely stroll, make no mistake - these animals are quite capable of running and even climbing trees while in this position. All in all, bear planks are an impressive display of athleticism, and it's no wonder they fascinate people today.

And it's not just a great way to get in shape - bear plank can also help improve your posture and relieve pain in the lower back and shoulders.

How to Do a Bear Plank?

Bear planks are the new hot workout move, and everyone's doing them. But before you try anything new, it's important to know the correct form and technique.

Simply put, bear planks are a variation of the traditional plank exercise. Instead of resting on your forearms and toes, you rest on your hands and feet like a bear. The move challenges your core muscles even more than a regular plank, making it an excellent way to tone your abs.

A good place to begin is doing sets of 10-20 seconds, with a 60-second rest between each set. As you get stronger, you can increase the duration of your sets (aim for 30-60 seconds) and reduce the rest time (30-45 seconds). Remember to focus on proper form throughout the exercise, and challenge yourself to maintain a straight line from head to toe. With practice, you'll be able to master the bear plank.

Of course, the move isn't just for the gym-savvy set. Even if you've never set foot in a gym before, you can still give bear planks a try. Just get down on all fours, like you're about to do a push-up, and then lift your knees off the ground. Hold the position for as long as possible, and lower yourself to the floor.

Muscles Targeted in Bear Plank

The bear plank is an excellent exercise for targeting multiple muscle groups. It primarily works the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. These are the muscles on the side of your torso connecting your hips and ribs. However, it also engages the shoulder muscles, triceps, and lower back.

Research shows that strengthening these muscles reduces back pain and the risk of injury and improves athletic performance.

Common Bear Plank Mistakes

There's nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through a plank and realizing you've been doing it wrong this whole time. To save you the embarrassment (and the sore arms), we asked certified trainers to share the most common mistakes they see people making when they do a bear plank.

The first mistake is not keeping your core engaged. "When you're in a bear plank, you want to make sure that your whole body is activated and working as one unit," says certified personal trainer Lauren Kanski. "That means keeping your core engaged, your hips aligned with your shoulders, and your head and neck in alignment."

Another common mistake is letting your hips sink too low. "This puts unnecessary stress on your lower back and puts you at risk for injury," says Kanski. "Keep those hips up!"

The third mistake is placing your hands too far in front or behind your shoulders. "This can cause wrist pain or strain on the shoulders," says Kanski. "Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, with your fingers spread wide."

Finally, many people forget to breathe when holding a bear plank. "Taking deep breaths will help you stay calm and focused, and it will also help engage your core," says Kanski. "Remember to exhale as you move into the plank position and inhale as you lower down."

So there you have it! These are the four most common mistakes people make when doing a bear plank. Remember these tips next time you hit the mat, and you'll be sure to nail that perfect plank every time.

Bear Plank Variations

If you're looking for a way to add excitement to your workout routine, bear plank variations are a great option. From bear crawls to side planks, these moves will challenge your core and boost your cardio fitness. And they're also a lot of fun. So, if you're ready, get on all fours and start crawling like a bear; here are some of the best variations of bear planks for you to try:

Bear Crawls

Bear crawls are a great way to challenge your body and get a full-body workout. And, unlike regular crawling, they're not just for babies. Here's how to do them:

  • Start in a low squat position with your hands on the ground in front of you.
  • From there, simply walk your hands and feet forward, keeping your core engaged the whole time.
  • Be sure to move contralaterally, that means left foot with right hand and vice versa.
  • Keep your hips low and level with your shoulders as you move forward.
  • Keep going until you reach fatigue or the desired distance.

You can try bear crawls with different variations to make things more challenging. For example, you can add a weight plate to your mid-back. Or, you can add weight by holding dumbbells in each hand. No matter how you do them, bear crawls are a great way to build strength and endurance. So get crawling!

Bear Plank Leg Lifts

The bear plank leg lift is a great way to simultaneously work your core, legs, and glutes. Here's how to do it:

  • Start in a low plank position, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Engage your core muscles and lift your right leg off the ground, keeping your hips level.
  • Hold for a count of two, then lower your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the left leg. For an extra challenge, try lifting both legs at the same time.
  • Remember to keep your abs engaged the entire time to protect your lower back.
  • Now go forth and plank like a pro!

Bear Plank Heel Press

The bear plank heel press is a great exercise for toning your abs, legs, and glutes. Here's how to do it:

  • Start in a bear plank position, with your hands and feet on the ground and your back straight.
  • Then, maintain the 90-degree bend in your legs, raise one leg and push your heel toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 2–3 seconds, then return to the bear position.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
  • Perform 3 sets of 5–10 kicks with each leg.

This move may look easy, but it's actually quite challenging. The key is to keep your back straight and engage your abs throughout the entire movement. Remember to breathe deeply and focus on contracting your muscles, not just moving through the motion. If you need a break, rest in the starting position until you're ready to continue. Good luck!

Banded Bear Planks

The first thing to do in a Bear Plank is to ensure that your bands are the correct tension. If they're too loose, you won't get the full benefit of the move. But if they're too tight, you might face yourself face-down on the floor before getting into position. Once you've sorted your bands, it's time to get into position.

  • Loop the resistance band around your lower thighs.
  • From there, tighten your core and slowly lower your hips toward the ground.
  • Keep your back straight and your knees in line with your ankles.
  • Push your knees off of the ground and get in action.

Benefits of the Bear Plank

The bear plank is a simple yet effective exercise that works the entire body. While it may look easy, the bear plank requires a great deal of strength and stability. You are working your core muscles, shoulders, arms, and legs by holding the plank position. The bear plank is an excellent way to build core strength and stamina and can also help improve your balance and coordination.

In addition, bear planks improve shoulder stability and mobility, as well as increase muscular endurance. And if that wasn't enough, bear planks also help improve focus and concentration. The key is to maintain good form throughout the entire exercise. When done correctly, a bear plank can be an extremely effective way to improve overall fitness and well-being.

A 2019 study showed that athletes who practice three extra core training sessions per week to their normal workout sessions experienced significant improvements in their balance, core strength, and coordination in 8 weeks.

Who Should Do the Bear Plank?

There are a lot of talks these days about the importance of core strength. And for a good reason - a strong core can help improve your posture, protect your spine, and increase your power and stability when moving. So it's no surprise that the bear plank has become a popular exercise for people looking to build core strength.

But who should do the bear plank? That's a question that doesn't have a simple answer. The truth is, the bear plank is an advanced exercise that isn't suitable for everyone. If you're new to fitness or haven't been active for a while, you'll likely find the bear plank too challenging.

And if you have any injuries or health conditions that limit your mobility, the bear plank probably isn't the right exercise for you. However, if you're reasonably fit and have no significant health concerns, the bear plank can be an excellent way to build core strength. Consider consulting a doctor or certified fitness trainer before adding this exercise to your routine.


1. What muscles does a bear crawl work?

The bear crawl is a great full-body workout that targets various muscle groups. First, it works your shoulders and arms as you raise your body up off the ground. Next, it targets your core muscles as you maintain a plank-like position while crawling. And lastly, it works your legs and glutes as you move forward on all fours. In other words, the bear crawl is a true full-body exercise that can help you build strength and endurance.

2. Are bear planks better than normal planks?

The main difference between the bear plank and the regular plank is that in the bear plank, you are on all fours instead of just your forearms and toes. This position helps you engage more muscle groups, including your shoulders, chest, and back. As a result, the bear plank can be a more effective exercise for toning your entire body. In addition, the bear plank can help improve your balance and coordination. However, it is worth noting that the regular plank has its benefits.

3. How long should I do a bear plank?

There is no hard and fast rule, but most experts recommend holding a bear plank for at least 30 seconds. If you're a beginner, start with a shorter time frame and gradually increase it as you get stronger. Remember to focus on your form and breath throughout the exercise.

4. Are bear planks beneficial?

Bear planks are beneficial because they work various muscle groups. They engage your arms, shoulders, core, and legs simultaneously, making for a pretty effective workout. Plus, they can help improve your balance and coordination.

Wrap Up

We hope you've enjoyed this in-depth exploration of bear plank form, benefits, variations, and more! Whether you're a beginner just starting out or a seasoned fitness pro, the bear plank is a great move to add to your repertoire. Not only does it build strength and stability, but it also tests your coordination and balance. And if that's not enough, it's also a great core exercise. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and give it a try!

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Moghadam, Navid, et al. “Comparison of the Recruitment of Transverse Abdominis through Drawing-in and Bracing in Different Core Stability Training Positions.” Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, vol. 15, no. 6, Dec. 2019, pp. 819–25. PubMed,
  • Suh, Jee Hyun, et al. “The Effect of Lumbar Stabilization and Walking Exercises on Chronic Low Back Pain.” Medicine, vol. 98, no. 26, June 2019, p. e16173. PubMed Central,
  • Huxel Bliven, Kellie C., and Barton E. Anderson. “Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention.” Sports Health, vol. 5, no. 6, Nov. 2013, pp. 514–22. PubMed Central,
  • Hung, Kwong-Chung, et al. “Effects of 8-Week Core Training on Core Endurance and Running Economy.” PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 3, Mar. 2019, p. e0213158. PubMed Central,

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James Cambell

James Cambell is an editor at DMoose, where he loves to write about fitness, nutrition, and health tips. He has received a degree in Nutrition Sciences and is a certified dietitian.

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