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The Plank Ranks High for Core Strength

A cord of wood is stascked like Abdominal Muscles.

A cord of wood is stacked like a set of Abdominal Muscles

Are plank holds the best exercise for abs? Plank exercises are a game-changer for abdominal muscles, based on research and results – but they are not for everybody. Many of us grew out of sit ups and grew accustomed to crunches and deciding whether to keep your hands behind your head, at your waist, bend your knees (yes) etc. A plank is different. Crunches are a concentric contraction exercise and a plank is an isometric contraction exercise. It turns out that the function and action of the abdominal muscles are more isometric, and so the plank is the exercise of choice – unless you have low back pain.

The plank places a significant amount of stress on the low back (Lumbars) and so in that case, if that is a problem for you, we are probably going to do something different, or at least modify the exercise. See how to do The Plank here.

Pain with the Plank

Usually this posture results in neck and upper shoulder pain, but can also result in some lower back aggravation as well. The solution:  alignment is key. Keeping your butt down and in – line with your shoulders and knees is imperative to working the proper muscles and preserving your back.  Some hints to help with the Plank, are – Don’t sag; don’t poke your butt up in the air (that’s a different exercise); don’t scrunch your shoulders. Having your hands in “Push Up” position is an advanced plan; it’s definitely  ok to start on your forearms. If you need an assist, put your knees down and do it like an assisted push up at least for the first few days. You will get there, and we will help you along the way.

Three minutes of plank per day to start will add a lot to your back strength. You can certainly begin with 30 seconds.

A strong core will support your back and promote overall vitality. At Blue Heron Chiropractic we are looking to correct things that need to be corrected and optimize everything else. This optimization includes strengthening your core.  Let’s talk about it at your next appointment.  Request one here.

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