Planks and Shoulders

Planks are tricky. They’re often categorized as a beginner core exercise, but like many core exercises, the better understanding you have of them, the more effective and more difficult they become. I like starting people with them to get them to feel what it’s like to brace, or create tension throughout your body. The better alignment you have, the more tension, the more difficulty. As you become better at bracing, planks go from “where am I supposed to feel this?", to “wow that’s really hard.”

Today, I want you to bring awareness to what your shoulders are doing while holding a plank. In both a high plank or a low plank, we want to see external rotation, think pit of your elbows forward, to create the most stable position. This s easier to imagine during a high plank, especially if you’ve done some yoga or have been doing barbell push ups at Gain.

While doing a low plank, that means no hands together while the forearms are on the ground. We want to see parallel forearms because that’s showing us the shoulders are in a more stable position. It’ll be harder, for sure, but also more transferable to other exercises. Bench pressing, push ups, inverted rows, push presses and even medicine ball slams all require this tension through rotation.

Next time you’re doing a beginner exercise, ask yourself, are you making this as challenging as it should be?

Justin Miner


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