We love this exercise because it is so effective at building core strength while keeping your spine in a safe position.
It’s safe to say that Dr. Steve and I are obsessed with your spine (it sounds a little odd, but it’s true). Your spine is a phenomenal example of physics, biology and innate intelligence combined. It is the structure that houses and protects your nervous system which just so happens to be the master control system of the entire body. Plus, your spine is designed in a genius way to be both flexible and strong; and when functioning properly your spine literally sends positive feedback to the brain which blocks pain signals from other areas of the body and down-regulates (decreases) the release of cortisol and other stress hormones. Your spine is awesome, so treat it right – and do your planks.
Your core muscles are what support, stabilize and protect your spine. When your core is weak, your spine is vulnerable, and the probability of back pain is very high. So, let’s get to work and create a strong, stable core; and a healthy, happy spine!
- Start on your hands and knees (just like in the last 2 exercises: Cat-Cow and Bird-Dog)
- Walk your hands forward until your spine is in a straight line from your knees-hips-lowerback-shoulders-neck-crown of your head.
- Lower onto your elbows, keeping them directly below your shoulders. And keeping your spine in the same line.
- Look down in between your hands, keeping your neck in a straight line.
- BREATH. Keep breathing at a slow steady pace while holding this position.
*Hold this position for 1 minute if you can! If not, start working towards it by holding for small increments of time. For example: 20 seconds, rest, 20 seconds, rest, 20 seconds. Over time your strength will build and you will be able to hold plank for a longer count.
Once you can hold this variation of plank for 1 minute, then it’s time to increase the challenge and lift your knees off the ground!
Make sure you are ready for this progression. If your lower back starts dropping towards the floor, or your hips lift up and out of line with your spine and legs – return to position 1. Hold this position for 1 minute, lowering to your knees whenever you need.
Doing this exercise daily will not only increase your core strength, but it is also an effective way to tone your midsection (always an added bonus!). We recommend everyone do a variation of this exercise that is right for them, daily. So get going! And you will be on your way to a stronger core and healthier spine.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions,
Be well friends!
Dr. Kate and Dr. Steve