The plank exercise seems like a brain-dead simple pose that anyone can practice without much instruction. This is true, but to refine the plank exercise, one must implement some specific components to ensure optimal performance.
It’s one thing to balance horizontally on all four limbs and see how long you can last without collapsing. It’s quite another to use the plank exercise as a stabilization drill (as it was intended). It’s not about balance, so much as it is about crafting a solid, bodily structure in which you can distribute force production in relation to the ground.
With the plank, there’s a lot more than meets the eye, and simply looking at an example of the plank may not offer the detail necessary to optimize technique. The real problem is that the plank is seldom taught properly at all. Personal trainers seem to expect their clients to just “get it” by modeling what they’ve demonstrated, instead of teaching the specifics. It’s true that almost anyone can imitate the plank position, but in my experience, most people miss a few vital components when performing it.
Done properly, the plank exercise can be extremely taxing, and for veteran plankers, may result in an initial drop in performance upon first starting the new technique. Rest assured, that with practice of the most efficient technique, performance increases will be regular and ongoing. On the flip side, if you’re practicing a less efficient technique, you guarantee a limit on your performance (this is true of any exercise). Good technique is both efficient and effective and results in the greatest overall benefits, and that’s what we’re trying to do in optimizing our performance in the plank exercise – to squeeze as much benefit out of it as possible. We do this by turning the plank into a full body exercise, instead of just a core-strengthening exercise.
By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how to maximize your performance in the plank exercise.