The plank is one of the more commonly prescribed exercises for trunk and core stability.  The plank involves the individual maintaining a neutral spine position whilst bracing through their shoulders/trunk and legs.  The picture below demonstrates both good and bad technique with the plank exercise.

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The top picture demonstrates the correct technique for the plank.  Often I will use a dowel stick and place it on the individuals back so that they can feel three points of contact (head, back and bum).  Failure to maintain these three points of contact or have the stick fall off means that the ones posture has changed.  As you can see in the bottom 2 pictures, the bottom left image has the individual demonstrating this with an increased lumbar lordosis.  The second image has the client sticking their bottom in the air.

Regressing The Plank Exercise

This can be done at ground level by dropping down to the knee and maintaining the same spinal posture (dowel stick should touch 3 points of contact). If the individual is finding it difficult to hold themselves up against gravity or adopt good spinal positioning, I would suggest trialling this exercise at an incline or standing against the wall.  Standing with the elbows against the wall means that the individual can spend more time on feeling what good spinal positioning is.  It is also important that they maintain normal breathing mechanics throughout this exercise.

This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams.  Heath is the director of Principle Four Osteopathy and Corporate Work Health Australia.  Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathic clinics.  The clinic is located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD at 29 Somerset Place (near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St).  Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online @ www.principlefourosteopathy.com.

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