Sherri McMillan

The Gold Standard of Planking

planktoesDecades ago, abdominal crunches and sit ups were the go-to exercise for abdominal and core conditioning. Over the years, we’ve learned that they may not be the best exercise to strengthen our core to play sports, walk, run, jump, lift or perform other daily activities. 

It is true that strengthening your core is critical for optimal health. If your core is strong, that strength radiates out to your extremities and you will be better able to stabilize and align your body, absorb and brace for any impact and move your body more efficiently and with better mechanics. We have learned that your core is not just your abs and if you want a strong core, you need to incorporate exercises that train your core from all angles including your back and hips. We need to train core movements of the spine but even more importantly, stabilization of the spine.

This is why Planking has become so popular and is now considered by many as the Gold Standard of Core Conditioning. Planking trains core stabilization and bracing of the spine. However, as mentioned earlier, planking is not the ONLY way you should train you core but rather, one of the important components of core conditioning.

Here’s how to plank correctly and some fun variations.

Plank

plankLie on your stomach.  Position your elbows under your shoulders. Contract your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift your body onto your toes and your elbows. Keep your back straight and elongated. Strive for a straight line from the top of your head to toes. Remember to breathe. Hold this position for 30-120 seconds. If you can’t hold for 30 seconds, start with 5 seconds at a time.
Note: Feel free to start on knees and as you get stronger, slowly progress to your toes.

Hands/Toes

You can also plank from hands and toes

Hip Drop Planks

While holding the plank position, slowly allow your hips to drop and rotate side to side for goal time.

Knee to Elbow Planks

While holding the plank position, slowly draw one knee towards opposite elbow. Alternate and continue for goal time.

Leg Lift Planks

While holding the plank position, slowly lift one foot off the ground. Alternate and continue for goal time. You can advance, by lifting the foot, pressing in laterally and then dropping it back to the starting position.

Circle Planks

While holding the plank position from hands and toes, slowly lift one hand reach forward, overhead and all the way around to the starting position. Alternate and continue for goal time.

Side-lying Plank

Lie on your side while propping yourself up on one elbow with elbow positioned right under your shoulder. Keep your body straight and aligned.  Slowly lift your hips off the floor so that your body weight is now supported on your elbow and your knees (less advanced) or your toes (more advanced).

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Cover Clover Run 2016Join us for the…..COUVE CLOVER RUN - 3, 7 & 10 MILES – March 25th, 2018
Celebrate in your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.

 

 

smcmillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 20 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year – Runner up. As a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” & “Fit over Forty” and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs, she is a spokesperson for Nike, Twist Conditioning and PowerBar. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S.A. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training a training studio in Vancouver, WA and can be found running, biking, or hiking with her daughter Brianna and her son Jackson.

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