Planks Improve Spine Stability & Health
When planks are performed correctly, they are a great exercise for general spine health for both athletes and non-athletes. They may not improve your hitting, throwing, swinging, kicking or punching velocity, but they do help re-align the spine, pelvis and shoulders in their natural positions afterperforming many common rotational sports movements which tend to mis-align these areas.
To perform planks correctly:
- Start on your knees & elbows – beginning with an easier progression (on your knees versus toes) will make it easier, improve your form and allow you to enjoy it more
- Make your spine long – keep your spine as long as possible (from your tailbone to the top of your head)
- Look straight down – so your neck is properly aligned
- No sagging – avoid allowing the hips and/or low back to sag or arch excessively as that’s bad for your spine
- Relax your hands and arms – minimize the tension in your arms & hands and keep it in the muscles of the core
- Keep feet together – or squeeze a small ball between the thighs (to engage some important inner thigh and abdominal muscles)
- Breath – the tendency is to hold the breath but just keep breathing
Starting on your hands and knees is a lot easier. Do this until you can maintain this for 30-60 seconds, then progress to your elbows & toes.
Keeping your spine long is the best position for your spine and planks can improve the positioning of the spine, pelvis and shoulder blades.
Keep your hips at the same height as your shoulders is the ideal way to strengthen your core and avoid back pain.
When performed correctly, an imaginary straight line will intersect the ear, shoulder and hip.