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Advanced Plank Exercise for Next Level Strength

Having a strong core is essential to proper movement, posture, and strength training. As your core gets to an adequate level of strength and control, you can start adding “Advanced” exercises to your daily routine. The Single Arm Plank is an exercise that I would integrate into every training program once a baseline core strength has been achieved.

Benefits of the Single Arm Plank

The Single Arm Plank is one of the best core exercises because it utilizes significantly more muscles than the standard front plank. The Front Plank primarily uses the Transverse Abdominus, Rectus Abdominus, and Erector Spinae. The Single Arm Plank primarily uses all of the aforementioned muscles, as well as the mid and upper Trapezius, Rotator cuff muscles, Serratus Anterior, and internal and external Obliques.

The added benefit of utilizing more muscles in the exercise significantly improves the strengthening of your core in more locations. Specifically, the scapulae (shoulder blades) and shoulders receive the most benefit of going to single arm. This is especially important for overhead and throwing athletes.

How to Perform the Single Arm Plank Properly

Here are few things to think about when performing the single arm plank.

  1. Begin in a forearm plank position
  2. Keep elbows directly below shoulders
  3. Place feet slightly wider than normal
  4. Slowly release one arm and raise it up next to your side
  5. Maintain flat back, with shoulder blades tucked down and in
  6. Head up, in a neutral position
  7. Hold for 30-60 seconds then repeat on opposite side

Common errors:

  • Hip shift when moving to one arm (keep those hips locked in with your core, no twisting!)
  • Arching (keep your butt down and in line with heels and head)
  • Chest drooping (don’t let your chest “fall” in, shoulder blades should not be popping up off your back)

 

How to implement the Single Arm Plank into your workout routine

The Single Arm Plank can be added into your workouts in several different places. If you want to implement it into your dynamic warm-up to activate the muscles involved, hold the plank on each side for about 20 seconds, just one time on each side. You can use it as a superset in between circuit sets of squats, deadlifts, RDL’s, bench, pull-ups, you name it! And finally, you can of course add it into a core circuit. The biggest point of concern is simply maintaining proper form. If fatigue is setting in and your form starts to suffer because of it, drop back to a standard front plank until you have the strength to hold perfect form.

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