Why You Should Do Planks EVERY DAY
A (Potential) Low Back Pain Solution
Alec Enkiri | 7/26/22
Something that I've found to be very helpful is daily planking.
Just 2-3 minutes in total, nothing crazy. You probably think I got sucked into some Squat University wormhole, but hear me out. A lot of guys who like to lift heavy, myself included, eventually end up developing minor but chronic lower back issues. Your lower back will often feel stiff or tight, and maybe a little bit achy sometimes as well, especially in the morning.
This is not a panacea, but a simple way that I have found to combat this is simply to spend a few minutes each day planking. This forces you to create a lot of muscular tension through the torso region and find stability along with it. When done consistently I have found this to be an effective means of combating that low grade, but chronic non-specific lower back pain. Keyword there is nonspecific so bear that in mind. You may even find that your hips start to find more mobility over time as well due to the enhanced stability in the torso region.
The key part here is in the consistency. This is something that I myself do as prehab work - daily maintenance work separate from my programmed workouts. If you're only going to do it sporadically then don't bother wasting your time because then it won't do anything. But if you're willing to invest just 2-3 minutes and do this either every day, or at the very least every other day, for just 3 or 4 weeks at first then I think you'll start to feel some very tangible benefits that will convince you to keep doing it indefinitely.
Now don't go nuts here. Start with a regression that you can comfortably hold for at least 2 minutes and work your way up slowly from there.
The basic plank with 4 points of contact (sounds remedial but) will be a good starting point for most.
After you become highly proficient there you can progress to the one leg version (3 points of contact), and split the time between both legs.
The next progression is still 3 points of contact but now one arm instead of one leg. This is quite a bit more difficult.
The final step in the progression is the bird dog plank, one arm and one leg at a time (just 2 points of contact now). If you can work up to being able to hold this with perfect position for 1 minute per side then you're golden.
From there all you have to do is maintain the ability to do this and the physical qualities that you have built along the way will serve you for the remainder of your training career and life. And this is the key part here that is going to be overlooked by many. Being able to hold these planks merely represents a proxy for the physical qualities that we are trying to build. Actually building the physical qualities is the part that matters. This means there is no point in rushing the process or trying to move to the next progression before you are ready. In fact, milking each stage for as long as possible (before it becomes too easy) is probably going to be the wisest way to go about performing this protocol for long term success.
As well, I feel obligated to note before closing that posture and positioning are the only things that matter here. If you use a progression that you aren't ready for and your positioning becomes sloppy then you defeat the purpose of the movement. You're doing this in your living room so put the ego aside here and be sure to get all the benefits these often shit on but actually understated movements have to offer. And film yourself to be sure your positions are good. The goal is to have everything be an neutral as possible at all times.
Happy planking guys!
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