#Technique Tuesday 3- The Plank

Welcome back,
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-
[wpvideo Ph4PDdV3]
In the pictures below you will see (clockwise)-

  1. Excessive thoracic kyphosis (Rounded upper back), rib flare, excessive  cervical protraction (chin sticking out).
  2. Excessive thoracic kyphosis (Rounded upper back), excessive lumbar lordosis (arched lower back), rib flare, excessive  cervical extension (head turned up).
  3. Excessive hip flexion.


Try this instead-
[wpvideo 0AAB2nJx]
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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-
[wpvideo unaBRH5X]
Do it right and do it often. Until next time
Pursue excellence-
Abhijit Minhas

2 thoughts on “#Technique Tuesday 3- The Plank”

    1. Hello, it depends upon your goal of why your doing it. If its for back pain reduction or prevention, unfortunately it will not help. However, if you are in no pain and want to build up core resilience and strength then yes. Assuming you don’t have pain at the moment, ill suggest 10-20 sec hold for 3-5 reps a day as tolerated for someone who has never done it before. Modify to less hold or reps or more hold or reps as needed. Prescribing exercise dosage accurately without actually taking to you first and getting history is not ideal but these are general guidelines. Hope this helps.

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