Health Tip

Scottby Scott Isley

Ace your next audition with a plank?

It’s a fact, a strong, tall posture exudes confidence, and confidence attracts success.

What’s one exercise you could be doing, should be doing, maybe currently doing incorrectly that could improve your posture?

The plank

plank_483x350_1

That’s right, you do it in yoga, at the gym, seen it done before, or never attempted.  Adding this stabilizer into your exercise routine two to four times a week can improve posture in as little as three weeks if done consistently.  I’ve seen it over and over with new clients and you can too.

Lets go over a couple key elements that you may be overlooking

First, What is the core?

The core is 29-35 muscles that surround the lower lumbar-pelivc-hip complex internally and externally.

core-muscles

Why do I need to “stabilize the core”, I already to 1,000 crunches a day?

Stabilization before movement is always recommended.  Building a house on a weak foundation is asking for trouble down the line.  Too much movement, especially with out proper stabilization, can lead to structural issues.

Tune up your plank

Aside from your head, back, and butt being on the same plane (if you were to lay a broom on your back it would parallel to the floor

Here are a couple additions to your plank to make them more effective and to truly stabilize the spine.

1 – “Butt Flex” – Squeeze your glutes tight like Jack Black in Nacho Libre.  Holding your glutes tight posteriorly stabilizes the lumbar and helps reset any anterior tilt of the pelvis excessive sitting/driving messes with.  Keep the glutes squeezed the entire time.

nacholibre

2 – “Hold the penny” – When drawing in the abs, think of holding a penny to your spine with your belly button.  To connect with the type of squeeze the muscles supporting the spine need for this stabilizing exercise; lie on your back, take a deep breath and then slowly exhale until lungs are empty.  As you exhale, push all of the air out of your lungs, when you feel like you’ve done that, get a little more air out.  You should feel your muscles shrink-wrapping your spine as you fully exhale.  That is the tightness you want when holding the plank.

3 – “Giraffe Neck” – elongate your neck and relax your upper shoulders as much as possible.  Try to emphasize the tension in your stomach.

4 – Breathe while squeezing.

5 – Check where you’re feeling it.  You should feel a deep burn in your stomach, you may feel it in your shoulders and the front of your legs.  You should NEVER feel this exercise in your lower back – if you do, either squeeze your glutes tighter or decrease intensity by bending knees.

Holding the plank with this type of detail will make it much more effective and harder. This can make 30 seconds a real good challenge.  If you can rock a two-minute solid plank with a focus on all of these put together, you’ve got some seriously good core stabilization.

TIP: If doing a plank on your forearms and toes is too much for you to start, then try the exercise on your forearms and knees with a same emphasis on the areas to squeeze.

Do 2-3 sets every other day with a time you feel is effective for you.  A good goal to aim for is three sets of 60 solid seconds.  Try for the next three weeks, log your time for each and how it feels.  In three weeks you will feel a difference in the support around your spine, your posture will improve, and you just may get that call back you’re hoping for.

weighted-plank-1

 


ScottScott Isley
NSCA, NESTA CPT.
Courses in Diet and Exercise Physiology and Human Anatomy at UCLA
Scott has worked as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach for the past 10 years accumulating 8,000 hours helping clients get healthy. He currently runs his business out of Carlsbad, CA in San Diego. You can find out more by visiting:
Website
Isley Personal Fitness on Facebook

Disclaimer: Use of the information contained in this site is at the sole choice and risk of the reader. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only.

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