The plank should be felt in the abs. It's probably one of the most boring exercises out there, however on of the most effective. Why? Well, to simplify it, you have 4 layers of abdominal muscles. The top layer, the rectus abdominis AKA your six pack muscles (its there...somewhere), has a vertical orientation. Your next 2 layers, your obliques, run diagonally. Your deepest layer, the transverse abdominis, has a horizontal orientation, wrapping around and attaching into the back, and functions similar to a corset (or a weight belt if you packing a little extra testosterone today). The plank targets the transverse abdominis.
Two small tweaks to you plank and you could be activating this muscle, and making the exercise more difficult and effective while putting less load on your spine. There is some research that proves it.
1. Tuck your pelvis, tuck your tailbone, round your low back; all cues to POSTERIORLY TILT YOUR PELVIS.
2. Move your elbow AWAY from your body; increasing the demand on your 'core' and less on your shoulders/pecs
Doing it this way is harder than it looks. Start with 30 sec on, 30 sec off, 6 times. Too easy? Go to 45 sec on/45 sec rest 6 x, then 60 sec on/60 sec rest 6x. I tell patients to start on their elbows and knees and progress to elbows and feet. If you can do 60 sec on/60 sec off 6 times with proper form like the last pic, your name should be on a plaque.
Have any questions? Let us know! Have a great week!
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