The plank is one of the most beneficial exercises for achieving total body stability. This exercise emphasizes maintaining alignment through both the anterior (front) chain and the posterior (back) chain. The benefits of the plank are seen in virtually every Spartan obstacle you will face. It’s the foundation for your barbed wire crawl and holds you upright throughout your sandbag and bucket carry. And it’s literally the exercise you perform when crawling along the Rolling Epic in our Spartan Stadium Sprint events.
When performing your plank imagine there is a rod running directly through your body, from toes to the top of your head. This rod should not be broken or bent throughout the exercise. To achieve this, squeeze your glutes and draw your belly button into your spine. Think about pulling your shoulder blades back up and down, against gravity, but not to the extent where you are trying to make them touch. Your eyes should be focused at a point slightly forward, making sure that your head stays neutral. Do not point your nose up, nor downward, but rather in a slight angle to the floor. Don’t forget to breathe.
A side plank is an alternative way to plank that will put extra emphasis on your obliques (outer abdominal muscles). If you want to get the core of your dreams you’ll need to hit it from multiple angles in variable ways. This week put the side plank into your ab toolbox.