6. Mix it upForearm-down isn’t your only plank option. Don’t kill yourself trying to hit Brian Dooher levels of plank zen, instead try a straight-arm plank or even take a leaf from another Brian and use a Swiss ball or medicine ball to rest your core further. Source: INPHOOther options are to slot push-ups in between a minute of planking, lift a weight with alternate hands during your minute or raise alternate legs.Whatever variation you, use the same core principles above and your abs and back will thank you once they’ve stopped working overtime.This article was originally published at 10.24, then updated at 15.13.Training tech: 5 steps to the perfect squat ‘ACCURACY’ HAS BECOME one of the most common words uttered by Irish athletes in search of greatness in recent years.It relates, not just to hitting the target with a ball or putting your feet in the right place during competition; it encompasses everything within the daily grind of trying to become fitter, faster, stronger, better.So, every Tuesday we’ll aim to bring you the best technical advice on an individual exercise that can make all the difference to both your physique and performance. This week, the plank. Source: ShutterstockIt doesn’t look like much, but when planking properly it is the most effective exercise you can do for your core and abdominal muscles. Rather than risking curling your spine while struggling to do a sit-up, plank for a minute and feel the sweat glands begin to pump.So here’s how.1. Elbows and toesThe beauty of the plank is that it’s simple and effective. There’s not much to be explained that you can’t already see happening in a still image.Get onto all fours and make sure to plant your elbows directly under your shoulders – an angle will put stress on the joint, which you don’t need to be doing for extended periods – and lift your weight onto your toes and forearms.2. Keep that ar*e up! Too low. Source: Scott Herman Fitness/YouTube3. But(t) below the shoulders More like a downward facing dog than a plank. Source: Scott Herman FitnessPerfect. Try to keep that straight line running from your neck all the way to your heels as you drive your feet into the floor behind you. Source: Shutterstock4. Now flexYour exercise time will be tougher and a whole lot more beneficial if you try to engage not only your upper body muscles, but also your thigh muscles and glutes.5. Challenge your PBOn a regular plank, try to set two or three minutes aside a couple of times each day and challenge yourself to build on that time with each attempt.