This weeks edition of Technique Tuesday is all about the plank. Why the plank? 1, because it can be tough to get into the right position and 2 it is one of the basic exercises in which every other exercise we do can be based upon. The positioning we use for the plank creates context for the positioning we’ll have for all of our other exercises. What this really means is we’re looking to maintain a braced core, keep alignment through the shoulders, ribs, and hips, and keep a neutral spine. If you can own this position, you’ll make everything else you do that much easier.
Two of the most common faults with this exercise stem from either an excessive lumbar extension or and excessive hip hike. Both of these are big NO’s when it comes to the plank.
To create a solid plank, go through this checklist:
- Neutral Spine- meaning a straight line from your head to your butt.
- Elbows Under Shoulders- straight line from the elbows to the shoulders.
- Feet Shoulder Width Apart
- Glutes Engaged- Want to see a slight posterior tilt to the pelvis.
Lastly you want to breathe while holding a plank. That can be considered another fault as holding your breath is a way to compensate for poor core strength. So the last tip is to breathe.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can progress further by:
- Adding movement
- Change the base of support- feet closer together, one foot or arm off the ground, or opposite arm/leg off the ground
- You can change the lever arm