TRAINING TIME: TIM RUDD
While coaching exercises that involve the prone plank position, I utilize a five-point checklist to ensure spinal health and appropriate strengthening of posture.
The plank is a great beginner level exercise to teach spinal stability as an anti-extension and flexion exercise of the spine. This is required to perform many strength exercises safely and effectively as well as many athletic skills required in sport.
- 1. Your athletes should maintain a standing type posture in a horizontal position. This means that the axis of the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and the ears should stay in a line and the spine should maintain a natural curvature.
- 2. The shoulder girdle should maintain a neutral alignment and not collapse back or round forward. The scapula (shoulder blades) should stay bedded and not wing out or squeeze together.
- 3. The pelvis should remain in a neutral alignment. It is common for the lower back to be flattened in a tail tucking like posture. Focus on maintaining a natural lumbar curve.
- 4. The hips should stay parallel to the ground and centered side to side. It is a common error to collapse the feet inward. Rather, the feet should remain perpendicular to the ground.
- 5. During plank-oriented exercises where a limb is lifted from the ground, only the limb and not the body should move. It is a common error to drop the hip of the lifted limb and/or to pull the hips out of center. Maintain the starting posture and only move the limb.
Tim Rudd is an IYCA specialist in youth conditioning and owner of Fit2TheCore.
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