Walk the Plank: Increase Core Strength and Shoulder Stability

START POSITION 

Keeping wrists in line with shoulders and neck in line with body, get into the position from which you’d start a push-up. Ankles should be hip-width apart. Maintain sturdy wrists as your hands push into the floor. Don’t lock elbows. Keep shoulder joints secure in a neutral position. To maintain tension in legs, push ankles backwards. 

SCAPULA PUSH-UPS 

1. From the start position, squeeze shoulder blades together, and allow chest to descend a few inches toward the floor. Keep arms straight and legs strong. 

2. From the lowest point of the retraction, push hands into the floor so that spine lifts toward the ceiling and shoulder blades move away from each other. Do three sets of 8-20. 

EXTENDED PLANKS 

1. From the start position, lift right arm above head while holding the rest of your body still. Engage your center, press left arm into the floor, and push back through heels for stability. Hold lift for 15-60 seconds. Repeat with the left arm. 

2. From the start position, lift left leg parallel to the floor and hold for 15-60 seconds while keeping the rest of your body still. Pull arms slightly toward feet for stability. Repeat with right leg. 

3. From the start position, lift right arm and left leg. Hold lift for 15-60 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Repeat entire sequence 2-5 times.

ROTATING PLANK 

1. Beginner: From the start position, lift left arm toward ceiling. Let torso rotate outward to the left, but maintain the positioning of feet and right arm. Gaze remains toward floor. Do 3-5 reps on each side, holding for 8-20 seconds. 

2. Intermediate: From the start position, lift left arm toward ceiling and rotate entire left side back over your right side to stack shoulders, hips, knees and ankles on top of each other. Gaze remains at floor. Do 2-5 reps on each side, holding for 50-60 seconds. 

3. Advanced: From intermediate position, lift the top leg into passé. Do 2-5 reps on each side, holding for 50-60 seconds.

ISOMETRIC HOLDS 

1. Interlock fingers of both hands and place elbows on floor, shoulder-width apart. Push through balls of feet to lift up into a mini push-up position. Maintain a long line from head to heels. 

2. Balance in the start position with hands atop a wobble board. 


Ben Hendrickson is an ACE certified personal trainer and is on staff at Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex in NYC.
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