By Courtney Farnet
A strong core is much more than a lean, chiseled “six-pack”. It is a complex series of muscles that move, support and stabilize the trunk.
All core exercises are not created equally. Sit-ups and crunches activate a portion of the abdominal muscles. Sit-ups and crunches place the spine in an unnatural, flexed position. Repetitive spinal flexion creates large compression forces on the discs and vertebrae in the lumbar spine and stresses the cervical spine if the neck is not kept in a neutral position.
The plank is an effective exercise alternative that tones and strengthens the body. It is an isometric hold that activates the superficial and deep muscles of the abdomen.
A proper plank is performed with the spine in neutral alignment and can be done on the knees or toes. Aim to hold three 30-second planks per day to develop core strength, improve stability and balance, enhance performance and prevent injury.
Aim to hold three 30-second planks per day to develop core strength, improve stability and balance.