Ten Plank Progressions For a Strong Core And Less Back Pain

couple planking

Learning and understanding plank progressions is one of the best ways to build core strength without aggravating our lower back. Being able to build core strength while limiting movement that may aggravate out pain is very important and is why the plank is the best way to safely build core strength without aggravating back pain.

The core is more than our ab muscles. Following these 10 plank progressions will take you from standard ab strengthening routine to full body workout. Check them out!

1. Knee Plank

The knee plank is the best place to start for beginners. Goal is to be able to hold for one minute straight. If you’re not there yet, start by accumulating one minute…taking breaks when needed.

2. Elbow Plank

Once you’re able to hold the knee plank for one minute straight, all you have to do is lift up your knees to move to the elbow plank. Same goal applies. Accumulate one minute, taking breaks as needed, until you can hold for one minute straight.

3. Plank Leg Lifts

Incorporate glute activation and rotary core strength with plank leg lifts. Bes sure not to lift the leg to high and avoid twisting of the lower back.

4. The High Plank

The high plank begins to incorporate the entire body (especially the shoulders) into our core strengthening routine. Move from the elbow plank to your hands and accumulate one minute.

5. Plank Knees To Elbows

An intermediate plank progression that begins to incorporate full body movement to challenge core coordination and work other core stabilizers like the obliques. Starting in high plank, bring right knee to right elbow. Repeat on left side.

6. Plank Pull Throughs

Further challenge our shoulder and rotary core strength with plank pull throughs. May need to widen stance to maintain plank position (without rotating of trunk).

7. High Plank Reaches

The most challenging rotary core strength progression. Start with one limb at a time. Advanced by using opposite arm and opposite leg.

8. Quadruped Hold

Moving from the plank to the quadruped position challenges our body in different ways. Try to quadruped hold to build core, shoulder, and hip flexor strength

9. Quadruped Shoulder Touches

Further challenge rotary core and shoulder strength with quadruped shoulder touches. Be sure to avoid rocking side to side when tapping one shoulder.

10. The Bear Crawl

The bear crawl is the most difficult of our plank progressions that incorporates full body strength and coordination. Incorporating crawling patterns into your strength training is a great way to limit impact on our joints and remain pain free.

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Looking for more exercise variations to help you build strength without stressing your joints? Find more resources below.

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