The PERFECT Plank
By Calvin Crawford – CC’s Staff
The PERFECT plank.
As if you need another PT to tell you how important your core is, but here we go. Done correctly, the plank is one of the best core exercises out there. Now, it isn’t the sole exercise to a six pack, but it must be included in your repertoire. During a plank you should have NO low back pain. If you have low back pain with planking, STOP. The exercise is in fact designed to prevent and improve low back pain, so something is wrong here. Additionally, since high school sports we have all been told to be flat, butt down, and shoulders flat. What gets missed here is our low backs go into a state of lordosis due to weakness and we disengage our core and rest on the ligaments and soft tissue in our low back. This is quite counterproductive if we are trying to work our core. What the key step is to tilt your pelvis or tuck your tail, causing your core to engage and your low back to relax. Let’s walk through it.
The PERFECT Plank:
- Only toes (or knees) and forearms touching ground
- Elbow under shoulders, just outside shoulder width
- Lift your hips about 6 inches above neutral and round your mid spine toward the ceiling
- (back down a little, we aren’t going for downward dog)
- Squeeze your glutes and *TUCK YOUR TAIL*
- You should have a lightly curved crescent moon shape now
- The exercise is isometric, hold the position for a set amount of time (i.e. 4 sets of 30 seconds)
- Never during a plank should you have low back pain.
Post Author: Christine Reiser
Christine is a lover of muscles and movement. She is a yin yoga enthusiast, self-diagnosed chocoholic, strong supporter ofsavasana, and an avid Denver Broncos fan. Christine draws inspiration for her teaching from dance-like vinyasa flows, the desert sun, and electronic dance music. Ask her to chat about fascia and you’re sure to be a lifelong friend.