Plank and Side Plank
Plank and Side Plank are awesome for shoulder and core strength but you need to be precise about your alignment, particularly shoulder and pelvis/lumbar spine.
I think this demo shows a really achievable progression through to the full exercise. The musculature of the demonstrator lets us see how the muscles engage as we move. And believe it or not this is what’s happening for us too if our alignments right – even if we can’t see it!
The only thing I would like to change would be the demonstrators elbows when she’s loading though her hands. We talk about it in class quite a bit – try to keep the inside of the elbows facing each other so that the joints are aligned safely.
If you’re looking for variations:
Plank with Tricep Press – flexing elbows by sending them behind whilst keeping them in to the side of your body, try not to retract the shoulder blades.
Plank with Pec Press – as above but sending elbows out to the side activating more through the chest.
Plank with Leg Raise – increase activation in one glute to open hip and float leg. Aim to keep your pelvis level.
Leg Pull Front prep – similar to the above but flexing the foot, pushing through the heel and rocking back onto the toes whilst keeping neutral pelvis and spine. Start by doing both feet at the same time and then try singles by lifting one leg as above. Not only will this challenge general alignment but it will also be more challenging for your shoulders.
Side Plank with Oyster – start position is with feet in line with the back of the pelvis and Oyster once up in Side Plank keeping hips pointing forwards.
Side Plank with Threading the Needle – same start position as above, adding an upper body sequential rotation from head down to thoracic spine by threading your free hand across the front of your body and into the space created by the lift. Again keep hips pointing forwards.