The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Fast Fitness - Strengthen by Changing Your Plank

Here is Friday Fast Fitness - fix your plank (hold pushup position) to strengthen core and wrists, and train standing neutral spine posture. In yoga the plank is done in high and low positions called chaturunga.

A sagging inward curve to the lower back is not the normal curve, it is too much curve - pictured at the start of the MPEG movie below. Holding a plank with a sagging (overarched, hyperlordotic) lower spine "hammocks" body weight onto your spine joints called facets, adding to lower back pain, and does not use your core muscles. It is counterproductive as an exercise. Instead:

  1. Hold a pushup position
  2. Change sagging lower back to neutral by tucking the hip. Head up, neck as straight as standing.
  3. Don't flop all weight on wrists. Press with hand and fingers, and use forearm muscles to reduce wrist compression and shift weight to surrounding muscles - see Stronger Pain-Free Wrists When Biking for ideas.


Reader David D. from Belgium sent this excellent movie. He pushes up into plank. You can also can start on hands and feet without pushing up. He first demonstrates badly overarched lower back, then changes to neutral spine in seconds 8-11 of the movie, then holds. When you do this you will immediately feel the effort shift to your abs. Use this instead of crunches for functional core training. If you push up from the floor, hold tucked neutral spine, not lifting upper body first.

(The exercise is not to do overarching and change to neutral - it is to hold neutral throughout.)

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.