Planks are a staple exercise for improving core stabilization. However, in my years of training people in a normal gym capacity and at a chiropractic clinic, I have found that few people get it right. Most people dump out in the pelvis, allowing their low back muscles to arch the spine and open up the stomach to the floor. While this may allow you to last longer before falling to the floor, it is just smashing tissues together and lessening the effort you have to put forth. To counteract this problem, you need to maintain a neutral spine throughout the duration of your planks.
Kelly Starrett, of The Ready State and author of Becoming A Supple Leopard, has found a simple yet effective fix. He asks people if they can firmly squeeze their glutes together. A strong contraction indicates better pelvic alignment while the lack of a good squeeze likely means your pelvis is anteriorly tilted. Use this little trick to keep your low back safer, glutes more contributory and abs better activated. After all, it’s always almost swimsuit season.
Now we are not done. Planks are not the only thing that can benefit from this strategy, just the most obvious. But think about performing a barbell back squat with an overly arched spine and limited capacity to brace your core. Not so good. Try using the butt squeeze self-test to ensure your pelvis is in better alignment in all your squatting patterns too. From lifting heavier weights to sitting in a chair better, this little check in with your own body will pay huge dividends.
This technique is great for everyone, sighted or not. However, it is particularly useful for those with limited sight as we cannot check our form in a mirror or by video easily. This is but one of many intrinsic double-checks you can continue to develop to be your own reliable form check.
Let us know how it works for you! Just comments.