Planking seems to be a routine fad in the exercise world, but why is that it always comes back, and why is that it’s so good for you?
The answer is simple: it’s one of the safest and easiest ways to begin building your core strength in a functional manner. But what does that mean? It means that you want your core engaged as you move the rest of your body around it, such as the hip joint (runners/golfers) or the shoulder girdle (again, runners/golfers – amongst others).
There are many levels of planking, such as planking on your knees, hands, elbows or planking with ankle and gleno-humeral motion (saw plank). There are even more advance positions such as side planks and plank rolls in which you move from a modified plank to a side plank while maintaining the plank.
So, by definition, what is a plank? A plank is basically (by my definition) being able to hold your trunk, from your neck through your entire back, hip joint and knee joints immobile. Imagine that you are standing, now, just go from vertical to horizontal while only changing your arm position to support you in that plane (yes, and your feet, now you are going to be on your toes rather than your sole).
So, what are we finding out about core strength? First is that most of us don’t have it! Second is that:
- Prevents injuries
- Improves performance
And, how does planking relate to this?
- It develops functional core strength
- Improves stability – and as one of my mentors says: “core stability leads to distal mobility”
Now, you are probably asking, does a static pose like planking lead to stable dynamic moves (you know, like in real life?) And the answer is yes and no! Yes, because any improvement in core strength will help your body function better, and NO because like I mentioned above, planking is pretty much the first step in beginning a core training program.
If all you do is plank, it’s gonna help but you are probably not going to get all the benefits a dynamic core stability program.
Dr. Eric - Santa Monica Chiropractor
Bay Chiropractic & Rehabilitation - 310-993-8482