High Plank/Low Plank: A Core Study

Written by: Kayte Corrigan

You know your core isn’t just about the abs, but did you know a plank isn’t just about your core? The plank fires into your quadriceps, glutes, and shoulders as well. In fact, almost your entire body is active, and we can thank gravity for that. The plank position also offers more than just improved core strength. Increased muscle endurance and balance are results of the plank as well.

We love the high plank for it’s versatility to use with mountain climbers and one legged isometric holds. We love low plank or forearm plank for its intensity as coming down a level changes the lever, increasing the challenge gravity places on body weight. We love side plank for the emphasis on obliques. We love challenging our plank-ability by practicing variations on the reformer and TRX.

We plank because it’s effective for the whole body and challenges us to persevere, mind over matter. How long can you hold your plank? Probably longer than last week.

HIP Pilates Mind/Body: Wrist Placement

Written by: Kayte Corrigan

Some exercises on the HIP Pilates reformer may strain the wrists, but that doesn’t mean they’re weak.

Anytime you support with your arms, like in plank, hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width, with fingers facing front. Check in with the inner crease of your elbows, which way are they facing? Ideally, they are turned forward, looking away from your body.

With your inner elbows facing forward, the shoulders rotate into the back and away from your ears. This is correct placement for your shoulders. Improper shoulder placement may cause an excess load on the wrist joint. Practicing correct placement of the shoulders will not only take pressure off your wrists but also strengthen the shoulder stabilizers.

Next, check in with your core. Engaging the abs, obliques, inner thighs, and glutes also lifts a bit of weight off your wrists. Keeping the core connected in all exercises also strengthens these stabilizers. And who doesn’t want to tighten those muscles?

If you have a wrist injury or carpal tunnel, your wrists will probably hurt in these positions. Always modify, but if you can, try to practice correct placement a little bit at a time to strengthen the wrists. With proper placement, you may feel a difference.

HIP Pilates

For more on this: http://www.merrithew.com/newsletter/august-2012-newsletter/ask-the-expert