Planks and Side Planks provide the foundation for core stability training.
In fact, I think they’re so important, along with core stability for wrestling, that I’ve written a number of posts on them before:
Rock Solid Core Stability Training– I detail the standard Plank and how it can be progressed into a serious core exercise using a simple stability ball.
Maintain Your Stance! Core Conditioning You Need– I introduce a core conditioning test by the world’s leading back pain expert.
Exercises for Wrestlers- Core Strength and Stability– I discuss the importance of core stability and why it’s necessary for maximizing your performance on the mat.
So, rather than re-hash old topics, instead I’d rather introduce the exercises and quickly explain how to perform them.
The Plank has been around for years and was one of the exercises that started the “core” craze in the strength and conditioning industry.
What makes the Plank great is that you don’t need specialized equipment for it and you can perform it anywhere.
The idea is to position your body in a straight line while balancing on your toes and forearms (or hands if you prefer).
Below is a quick video of me performing a plank.
…I probably should have lowered my hips a bit, but it may be the camera angle as well.
Again, focus on bracing through the core so your back remains flat. Once you start to “dip” and your stomach moves closer to the ground, you’ve started to lose the training effect of the Plank.
The above picture is an example of the “dip” I’m talking about.
The Side Plank is a great variation that not only tests your core stability, but your shoulder stability as well.
Here’s a video of me performing a Side Plank.
Again, the idea is to brace/stabilize the body in a straight line so that you look like this:
I like to squeeze/drive my glutes in order to help ensure my body is in a straight line. If you lift with a partner(s), ask for feedback on how you’re looking.