Restore the Core – Step 5 Progress Your Planks


By:  Chris Kelly CSCS (NSCA), CES, PES (NASM)

This information is from Chris Kelly’s eLearning continuing education course:
Restore the Core: Integrated Core Training for Real World Function.  See the full course for additional core assessments with video, and several core exercises and progressions with videos.
Part 2 of the Core Series is Core Complete Training: A Systematic Approach for Aesthetic Core Development by Chris Kelly.


Five Step Process for Restoring the Core
Much like a weight belt, the abdominals tighten around the spine to provide support during exercise or daily tasks such as bending over and rotating. Contracting the abs in this fashion is known as an abdominal brace.

Step 5: Progress Your Planks

After the re-establishment of breathing patterns and the ability to actively brace the abdominals in supine position (lying on the back), progress to more advanced exercises such as planks.

The key to a plank is to first find a neutral spine position while remaining on all fours. From there, raise into a plank position while maintaining the brace and neutral spine position.  A dowel rod or broom stick can be placed on the client’s back to teach the back to stay in position while the stomach can be poked at various angles to ensure the client is maintaining the abdominal brace.

Beginning as a static hold, the plank is utilized to build isometric endurance while teaching the torso to resist movement. Once this exercise can be held statically for time, it can be progressed by moving the arms and legs while maintaining a stable torso.

See Sample Video for Plank Progressions:

About the Author
Chris Kelly is an experienced fitness journalist, speaker, and strength coach. With over ten years in the fitness industry, Chris’s experience spans from work in rehabilitation settings to strength and conditioning for athletes.

As a fitness speaker, Chris has authored numerous seminars and workshops focusing on back pain and restorative core training along with a variety of related topics. He holds fitness certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Chris received a bachelor’s degree in communications from St. Johns University in Queens, New York, and a master’s degree in journalism with a specialization in health and science from Columbia University in New York City.

An experienced health writer, Chris has also written extensively on fitness, healthcare, and nutrition. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including Exercise for Men, Prevention, Health, and the Boston Globe.

Copyright Fitness Learning Systems Inc. 2016

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