You might be surprised to read that we think the the front plank is a dumb exercise. The triathletes and runners on our team RULE the plank, but a focus on the front plank is not part of our training. Here's why....
As you've undoubtedly seen, the front plank is common in training venues and gyms. Problem is, it's not the best exercise to create core STABILITY. As a competitive, endurance athlete, core stability is what you're after. Certainly, the front plank can help develop strength and endurance in the front of the body, but here's the problem.... The exercise is over used, and if you've looked around your gym, it is often poorly done.
Lots of people like to work on the muscles that make them look good in a bathing suit. If that's your aim, carry on.
BUT... if your mission is to create a good, solid, stable core in three planes of motion, the half front plank with a reach AND the side plank will give you a much better payoff for time and energy spent. These plank exercises challenge transverse and frontal plane motions respectively, and they are too often ignored.
If you're not familiar with the half front plank with reach, here's Dr. Strecker in a training video for our triathlon team. We don't usually share these, but OK, just this once--it's that important. 🙂
If you want to know more about core stability, we have a podcast here on the topic. We also have a three-part series of posts on "What You Don't Know About the Core CAN Hurt You," which you can find here.
We hope you enjoy our podcasts and find them useful for your training and racing. Any questions? Hit us up in the comments, or on Facebook. Let us know of any topics you would like us to cover too.
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