Advanced core-plank exercises are not for everyone. Like all exercises there are appropriate modifications and progressions and this is especially true for core exercises. Unfortunately, I often see individuals trying to perform advanced core exercises when they should stick to the basics. Core exercises are commonly mis-interpreted by the public and sometimes even professionals. Many people think the core is only the abdominals. This is partially true because it does include the abdominals but the core also includes the pelvic floor muscles as well as the lower back muscles and hip muscles that help stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine. Additionally, these muscles provide mobility and stability to the pelvis and lumbar spine in three different planes.
Performing planks in different positions are a good way to activate the core in all three planes. However, proper modifications and progressions are necessary because even a modified plank may be difficult for some. There are many benefits to utilizing planks, but if it increases or causes lower back pain then modifying it with an incline is recommended. Or, if users are not ready for planks begin with other simple abdominal exercises that may be more appropriate.
Controversy persists on the most appropriate way to safely and effectively increase core stability. Currently, the trend is to utilize planks for core stability while some only utilize "crunch-type" exercises, and other's use products to assist in core stability. As always, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle and a blend of "crunch-type" and "plank- type" exercises are necessary for balanced mobility and stability. Personally, I prefer blending the two types and utilizing more of the twisting modified oblique exercises with plank exercises. The primary reason is because twisting involve rotation and provides needed lumbar and thoracic mobility which provides a balance between mobility and stability of the lumbar spine and pelvis.
A recurring theme in many of my post is "one size does not fit all". For example, what is your goal for strengthen the core? Do you have low back pain? Are you trying to improve performance? Do you want a six-pack? Sorry core exercises will not do it. Believe it or not we all have a six-pack but most of us have belly fat hiding our six-pack and the fat will not go away without decreasing calorie consumption. Perhaps you are just beginning to exercise or maybe your an athlete looking for an advanced program? Whatever your level of fitness you must wisely choose what works best for you and your needs. However, when selecting your core exercises working the front,side and back is a MUST for a balanced core.
The following plank exercises are for moderate to advanced fitness level individuals. They are performed in several plank positions utilizing the Therawheel for increased isolation and activation of the core. There are a series of Therawheel core exercises that may be used with Therawheel.
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