Plank Your Way to a Stronger Core

Sep 14, 2013

Written by: Geo Bruzzo, Fitness Director/Personal Trainer, O2 Fitness Falconbridge

As a personal trainer, I have a bone to pick with one particular thing: core exercises. It kills me to be on the floor with a client and have to sit by and watch a person lay and do flat crunches for 10 minutes.

Don't get me wrong, crunches have their place, but to exercise only one set of the abdominal muscles is a travesty!

Not to mention how overall ineffective the exercise is. At the gym, I get to see a lot of our members working really hard, which is wonderful, but not as much when I see a lot of these exercises being performed with bad or negative form.

Planking. Fun to say, great to do.

One of the exercises I want to talk to you about in a positive light is planking.  By now most people are aware that planks are a great exercise for building core strength, but what most people are not aware of is that technique on a plank is key!  This post will try to clean up technique on a regular plank, and provide general insight on other ways to train your core.

Plank technique:

Most people try to keep a straight posture when doing planks. That's great, in principle. What ends up happening is that as we get tired, we arch our backs and that increases the pressure at the lower back, ouch!!

A simple solution is to take a 2 second break halfway through a set, and reset technique. Voila! This should also allow you to work into a harder modification of a plank, such as a plank on an inflatable ball.

The plank is a great exercise that targets the anterior core, but doesn't target other core functions such as:

  • lateral core strength
  • rotary core strength

And if you want to go more in depth, it's also very important to train “posterior core strength”, or your back.

To summarize, take breaks in the middle of planks for more effective, safer planks, and train the core in a variety of ways!  Stay posted for next month's follow up on core training! In the meantime, send any and all questions to

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