This is an advanced shoulder/core stabilizer exercise. The strengthening of the shoulder girdle muscles should be routine before attempting this movement (see exercises in my upper back category). This assures proper body alignment and reduces chances of injury.
Major Muscles Used: Abdominals-(rectus abdominis, external & internal obliques, transverse abdominis) Spinal back muscles-(erector spinae, multifidus) Shoulder Girdle muscles-(trapezius, rhomboids, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, levator scapulae)
Position and Movement: begin in a full plank position with arms extended – fingers are splayed, wrists are under the elbows, elbows are under the shoulders. Abs are contracted. Thighs and buttocks are contracted. Heels are pushed back. Neck is aligned with the spine.
While in alignment, as stated above, descend into a lower plank position. Once in position, push forward with your heels. so that you are on your toes, elbows are tucked by your rib cage and arms form a 90° angle. Shoulders (scapulae) are depressed and retracted (down and back, this alignment is where most people struggle – if you are doing this properly, you will be wearing your shoulders in your pockets and your chest will be broadened) Neck is aligned with the spine. Continue to contract abs, buttocks and thighs throughout the exercise. Hold for a few to several seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
* use of a mirror, to assess proper alignment, is encouraged!
To Modify: place knees on the ground when you descend into lower plank and keep them there throughout the exercise.
– buttocks are raised
– center sags
– shoulders sag lower than elbows
– shoulders internally rotate, indicative of weak upper back muscles
– inability to keep muscles contracted
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