full plankPicture from Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises

Maintains neutral alignment and provides a challenge to the core stabilizer muscles

Major stabilizer and assistor/synergist muscles used: rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, quadratus lumborum, erector spinae, multifidus, trapezius, rhomboids, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, levator scapulae, deltoids, quadriceps, glutes, sartorius, tensor fasciae latae and gastrocnemius

Position: (for the basic plank) On hands and toes with pelvis, spine and neck in neutral keep hands under shoulders with fingers splayed. Elbows are slightly flexed and abdominals contracted. Hips and shoulders are level and scapulae (shoulder blades) are depressed (pressed down). A straight line should be made from the head to the heels.

modified plank

Movement: Because this is an isometric exercise, there is no movement.  Hold for 10 seconds to a minute or more if performing for stability purposes.

Common errors:
– Abdominals aren’t contracted which can lead to misalignment of the spine
– elbows are hyperextended
– neck is hyperextended or flexed
– scapulae (shoulder blades) are retracted (pulled back) or protracted (extended forward)

Progression:
– perform plank with one leg up
– perform plank with elbows lowered
– side plank
– side plank with one leg up

Want more information on planks or further progression suggestions? Please leave a comment…

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