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Plank : new challenges

DrNotley - Plank

My previous post on the plank exercise was on how to make the plank easier until you are ready to progress to the full plank. The plank is a great exercise that strengthens the anterior chain of the core muscles. It is also a great exercise to start strengthening the shoulders.  I often give this exercise to my chiropractic patients who have had a history or chronic lower back pain.  I must admit, this exercise sometimes gets boring.

So how can you make this exercise more challenging and more interesting.  Here are some of the ideas I give my patients.

  • Move your elbows further out in front of the shoulders
    • The further you place your elbows out in front of you the harder the plank will get
  • Lift one arm up off the ground
    • Take one arm and reach out in front of you and hold the position. Return the plank position and repeat with the other arm.  The key to this exercise is to keep the shoulders parallel to the ground.  The supporting arm should remain vertical with little deviation of the the support shoulder away from the unsupported arm. To make this exercise even more difficult bring the arm out to the side rather than in front.
  • Lift one leg up off the ground
    • The concept of this exercise is the same as the previous exercise except you are moving your leg instead of your arms.  The key to this exercise is to keep the pelvis parallel to the ground.  The hip should not hike up or drop down as you lift your leg.  To make this exercise even more difficult bring the leg out to the side.
  • Lift alternating arm and leg up off the ground
    • Now if you are coordinated in enough you can combine the previous two exercises.   For example, lift the left arm and the right leg. I’ve tried lifting the same side leg and arm at the same but I have failed miserably (I am sure someone can do it)

Challenge your body so that it can be stronger.  Doing the same exercise, with the same number of repetitions and sets, and at the same intensity will only keep you strong but never stronger. Try out some of these variations.

I will add a video on these plank variations soon.  If these exercises are too easy then check out the second part to this blog, “The Front Plank: More Challenges”.

Until next time,

Dr Notley
Winnipeg’s only dual credentialed Chiropractor and Athletic Therapist.

Originally posted on May 17, 2022 @ 4:40 pm