Tune-Up Tuesday - Episode 2: Building Tension in the Plank

Just looking at the plank, it seems like a relatively easy exercise.  People just pop into the position, stare at a timer and hold until fatigue makes them come crashing to the floor.  

But, you shouldn't need to perform a plank for over a minute for the exercise to feel challenging.  It all comes down to your intent, and how well you can build tension.

Remember these cues when performing the plank. 

  1. Squeeze your glutes as tight as possible.
  2. Pull your heels away from your head
  3. Squeeze your abs as hard as you can.  Think pulling up towards the ceiling.
  4. Think about sliding your forearms down towards your feet (keep in mind, your elbows shouldn't actually move).
  5. Keep doing the 4 cues above harder and harder for the determined time.

I typically prescribe this for 3 distinct 10 second holds with a 1 to 2 second rest interval.  This equates to one set, NOT 3.  You can also prescribe these for time; 30 seconds, 1 minutes or as long as possible - it all depends on your goals and how well you can perform this exercise.   I will tell you, if you do this as described in the video, that easy plank mentioned above will feel hell of a lot harder!

Remember this exercise is not only designed to help you improve your core stability but to help you create context for your exercises. Meaning these same cues should be used while performing exercises such as squats, deadlifts and push-ups.  

This will help you improve the overall amount of tension you can produce, not only making you stronger, but it improves the resiliency of your spine as well. 

Give these cues a try, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Move Well, Stay Strong.