Coach’s Corner: Troubleshooting The Front Plank

Get the most of your time and effort with these two tips.

The front plank is a great exercise to teach the runner how to brace the abdominal muscles to maintain a neutral lumbopelvic position. However, often it is performed incorrectly, with the hips either being too high or too low (with a saggy lower back). To get the most out of your time and effort, think of these two tips the next time you perform a front plank.

1. Tuck In Your Pelvis

When in the plank position, form a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Rotate your pelvis forward and you’ll feel your lower back flatten slightly (this is OK). Now squeeze your butt as if you’re trying to crush a walnut—seriously.

2. Dig Your Elbows Into The Floor

After you achieve the neutral spine position and have a straight line from your heels to your shoulders, push your chest away from the floor. Don’t sag into your shoulders. Next, dig your elbows into the floor as if trying to touch your bellybutton with your elbows. You don’t have to give it 100 percent with the elbow dig; 50 percent effort will be enough.

This type of front plank will recruit more abdominal muscle fibers compared to regular front planks. Therefore, I recommend holding these planks for only 10 seconds or so. Take 1-2 seconds rest between these mini-sets and perform 6-8 reps. This equals one set. Perform 2-4 sets 2-3 times per week.

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About The Author: 

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CSCS is a runner, strength coach and owner of JKConditioning in St. John’s, NL, Canada. Jon specializes in strength training distance runners and is currently in the middle of preparing a strength training resource for runners. Stay in touch by checking out www.StrongerRunner.com and www.JKConditioning.com.

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