Shari Duncan

CORE Training: PLANKS
Shari

by on Dec.12, 2009, under Fitness, Stretching / Flexibility

A solid core minimizes your chances of injury, corrects muscle imbalances and provides you with a pain-free better posture.

Plank

The plank is the most fundamental core exercise. It is the basis of many progressions to challenge and develop your core to its full potential. Not only does it strengthen the abdominal muscles but also works all the core muscles — the back, hips, etc.. Beginners can start by holding the position for 10-15 seconds, gradually increasing the time to one minute.

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Start: Lie flat on your stomach. Place your elbows and forearms on

Engage all core muscles, keep back & buttocks flat for maximum effect.
Engage all core muscles, keep back & buttocks flat for maximum effect.

the floor. Your elbows should be aligned right below your shoulders.

Begin the motion: Lift your hips up so your body is parallel with the floor. Your forearms to fists and the balls of your feet should be the only body parts touching the ground.

It is very important to not arch your back during the plank. Always make sure you feel the muscles in your abdominal area doing the work.

You should have your core drawn in tight and your glutes tightly contracted. If your form breaks down, stop, rest, and repeat.

Progressions are listed below. Make sure you can perform the most basic core exercises before you progress. This means you should be able to hold the static positions comfortably for a minute before progressing.

Beware of Cheating!

Remember to not let your hips and back sag. This exercise is only effective if you work to maintain a flat line from your shoulders to your feet.

Side Plank

Start: Lie on the floor on your side. Position your elbow directly under

Work to keep all muscles engaged & your body in a straight line
Work to keep all muscles engaged & your body in a straight line

your shoulder.

Begin the motion: Raise your body until it forms a straight line, with a straight spine. Hold this position while you maintain a drawn in core and contracted glutes. The side plank should be performed on both sides.

  • Beware of Cheating!

  • Remember to keep your body in a straight line, tightening your abs and butt muscles.
  • Try these variations to increase the difficulty and further improve stabilization of Core muscles

    Single Leg Plank

    Hold the plank position. Lift one leg off the floor. Make sure your foot is not externally rotated and your toe is pointed straight down toward the floor.

    Single Leg Abduction Plank

    Same as above. Abduct (bring away from body) the leg which is off the ground. Again, make sure your foot is not externally rotated and your toe remains pointed straight down towards the floor. This is difficult!

    Dynamic Side Plank

    Hold the side plank position. Slowly drop your hips until they touch the ground then bring back to original position, repeat.

    Weighted Side Plank

    Same as above. You can hold a dumbbell or weight plate on hip to increase the difficulty.

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