If strengthening your core is of any importance to you, there’s no doubt you’ve attempted a plank once or twice. I try to incorporate some form of a plank at least once per week – it has become a staple in my exercise toolbox. The beauty of the plank is that it works multiple abdominal muscles while putting very little stress on the lumbar spine. It’s also easy to do – you don’t need any equipment and it gives you that burn in your abs that hurts so good. It’s simple and effective.
There’s more to the plank, though, than meets the eye. It’s more than just holding a straight position for as long as you can.
Although you’re likely already reaping the benefits from your efforts, there are a few tweaks you can make to maximize your benefits.
Here’s some suggestions to make sure – from head to toe – you’re getting the most out of your planks.
Weakness is a relative term. We tend to think of weakness in comparison to other people. For instance, I am weaker than ‘The Rock’ (first person who came to my mind). But what about weakness of certain muscles in your own body relative to others? There are several important groups of muscles that tend to be weak in many people.
Maybe you’ve been neglecting to strengthen some of the weakest areas of your body without even knowing it…
Have you had low back pain before? The most common source of pain in patients I see each day for Physical Therapy is low back pain. Low back pain, more than any other type of pain spans a large age range, as well. I get teenagers, new moms, middle-aged men and women, and elderly folks all complaining of the same thing. My job as a Physical Therapist is to help people like YOU prevent this pain.
Before a patient comes to see me, they have to go through a referral process from their doctor and schedule an appointment. This process usually takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks. It’s not a perfect system, but it is what it is. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for someone to show up for their appointment only to tell me that their low back pain is already gone. Oftentimes, low back pain will go away on its own with time. The problem is that it can frequently recur. So the question isn’t how can we make your pain go away, but how can we stop it from coming back?
Regardless of whether a patient has current pain or not, I hardly ever spend the appointment treating the pain itself – this is just a symptom. No, more important is dealing with the cause of the pain.
When people come to see me for low back pain, we don’t work on how to make the pain go away, we work on how to prevent the pain from coming back in the future.
The same is true for you. You can do things today that will help prevent low back pain tomorrow.