The week ahead is long and there is much to do, its only Tuesday. So we like to keep it short and sweet on #techniquetuesday. Today we discuss the plank. Plank is a great core exercise but often faulty techniques negates the true benefits of the exercise. In my mind, the true purpose of the plank is to engage the core to brace and protect a ‘neutral’ spine. However, I often find when performing a plank that the hold time supersedes good form. There’s a lot of excessive arching, ribs flaring out, more than desired hip flexion, cervical extension etc all for the sake of getting that extra 30 seconds. Here are some example-
In the pictures below you will see (clockwise)-
- Excessive thoracic kyphosis (Rounded upper back), rib flare, excessive cervical protraction (chin sticking out).
- Excessive thoracic kyphosis (Rounded upper back), excessive lumbar lordosis (arched lower back), rib flare, excessive cervical extension (head turned up).
- Excessive hip flexion.
WATCH OUT FOR THESE COMMON MISTAKES!
Try this instead-
Remember, the spine is not perfectly straight so a little ‘natural’ arching is acceptable. A cue I often use is to gently pull the front rib cage down towards the feet, I’m not a big fan of the cue ‘drawing the belly button towards the spine’ because it interferes with normal diaphragmatic breathing (which is important for proper core engagement).
If the plank off the feet/toes is hard, regress it to ‘off the knees’ like this-
Do it right and do it often. Until next time