The plank is a fundamental core exercise that I insist on all of my clients practicing.
Core strength make all of aspects of strength come together more effectively and if you want to have a solid foundation for your body then the plank is a fantastic place to start!
Below is a screenshot from the workout video to follow.
Despite plank being a relatively simple exercise it is easy to make a few position errors, which will reduce the actual benefit.
The aim is to have your hips and shoulders at the same height. If your hips are higher or lower you’re going to basically be cheating, making the exercise easier and not getting the full work.
A neutral spine is an important factor, many people will let their low back curve, which results in the muscles of the low back holding more weight than they should.
The queues that I give to avoid this are to pull the belly button to the spine and tuck the tailbone(you’ll hear these several times in the video).
By doing the above you will shorten the abdominal muscles ensuring they work and lengthen the back muscle to stop them doing all of the work. They are involved but shouldn’t be the main muscles.
It’s also worth trying to pull your shoulders back and down. This is to avoid letting the shoulders shift up onto your neck and result in curving out you upper back.
While this won’t do a great deal of harm it will contribute to an unwelcome build up of tension in the neck. The plank, when done well, can help reduce pain in the low back and neck by encouraging your spine to maintain a better upright position closer to neutral and avoid various muscles taking on more load than they should.
The Glute bridge is an exercise I will often super set with a plank. The core is often thought of as the area between your pelvis and your ribs and a lot of the work will be focussed on this area.
If you include the hips in your core work you can encourage you pelvis to sit closer to neutral allowing a better foundation for the spine to stay upright and not have exaggerated curve which are a major factor in back pain.
With the Glute bridge the aim is to tuck your tailbone and extend your hips. By pushing the knees out to the side you get extra glute engagement making this often under active but highly important muscle group work more effectively.
Its important to avoid pushing your hips up and just curving the low back, this will hurt the low back and defeat the purpose of this exercise.
Its possible to stretch your hip flexors by tucking the tailbone effectively during these exercises.
There are a few variation of the Plank in this video.
Plank builders, mountain climbers, high plank with hip extensions and plank jacks.
Hopefully the video itself is going to be enough for you to follow those variations.
I’ve covered the plank and the glute bridge as they are fundamentals that everyone can benefit from but can easily be done in a way that reduces their benefits.
I hope you enjoyed the video, if you have any questions please comment below.