Regularly doing planks can support/strengthen the spine and prevent back pain, no matter the fitness level. It’s estimated that 70% of adults experience back problems and pain. One of the best ways to keep the spine healthy is by strengthening the core muscles. The more these muscles are built up, the healthier the body will become. The plank position activates the entire core taking the pressure off the spine.
The core is the center of the body. It contains all the muscles surrounding the torso. These muscles work together to:
The core is split into two muscles: The inner and outer core.
The inner core consists of:
When the core is not strong enough, the spine and back muscles overcompensate to keep the body standing correctly. Studies have shown how planks effectively activate the muscles responsible for spinal stabilization. The exercise targets the entirety of the core and strengthens the shoulders and glutes. Strengthening these muscles improves posture, helping to alleviate back problems and pain. However, talking to a doctor before beginning a plank regimen is recommended if back pain is present. If done incorrectly, they could aggravate the back muscles.
Choose an area clear of furniture where the whole body can stretch out. Follow these steps:
There are variations of this exercise for different levels of physical fitness. Once the modified and full plank has been mastered, various planks can target other body areas. These include:
Anybody can work up to a plank at any age or fitness level; it just takes time. Once achieved, it is a great way to keep the body’s core strong and healthy and helps prevent back problems.
The lateral band raise is an excellent workout for the shoulders. It works out the lateral deltoid, anterior deltoid, and serratus anterior.
Calatayud, Joaquín et al. “Tolerability and Muscle Activity of Core Muscle Exercises in Chronic Low-back Pain.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 16,19 3509. 20 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/ijerph16193509
World Health Organization. (2013) “Low back pain.” www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/Ch6_24LBP.pdf
Youdas, James W et al. “Magnitudes of muscle activation of spine stabilizers in healthy adults during prone elbow planking exercises with and without a fitness ball.” Physiotherapy Theory and practice vol. 34,3 (2018): 212-222. doi:10.1080/09593985.2017.1377792
The information herein on "Planks For Spine Support and Back Pain Prevention" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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