We'd like to say all exercise is good exercise but the fact is that good form is essential for reaping all the benefits of a given movement and can even prevent injury from occurring. Take the plank for example: an exercise which is generally agreed upon to be beneficial for people interested in core strengthening and reducing lower back pain. From the chiropractor's perspective, the benefit of regular planking is three-fold:
- Increasing core strength and stability
- Reducing back pain
- Increasing flexibility, balance and posture
All planks are not created equal, but a properly performed one will contract every layer of the abdominal fascia with very little movement required, strengthening the core and reducing pain in the lower back while also increasing the flexibility of posterior muscle groups. So what are the elements of a basic plank?
- Elbows directly under shoulders, wrists aligned with elbows
- Push body upward and hold chin close to neck
- Contract your abdominals and squeeze your glutes and thigh muscles.
- Hold 20-30 seconds, no longer. Rest 1 minute, repeat 3-5 times.
A helpful thing to keep in mind when attempting to find the right form is to pull in your belly button. This helps to contract the deepest layer of muscle that you are targeting and helps you get the full benefit of the stretch. Planking regularly will help you experience less pain and make sitting up straight easier. Adding a new movement into your routine should always be done with calculated consideration; at Holmes Chiropractic, we can show you the form that will help you achieve 100% benefit from every movement.
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.