Dear Strength Coach/Personal Trainer,
Here is the description of a NEW variation of the Side Plank Exercise as it appears in our soon-to-be-released Ground Based Abs Program:
Start position: To train the left side, lie with your left side facing down, supported on your left forearm and the outside of your left foot. Your palms should face up and elbow should be placed directly under the shoulder joint. Your spine should have its natural curves (= the neutral spine position). Most clients will tend to side flex their cervical spine (neck) towards the shoulder facing up in an attempt to keep both eyes level with the horizon.
As variations, if the elbows get sore from resting on them, the athlete/client may also place the supporting hand with palm down or make a fist with it. Whatever variation is chosen, there should be a high level of friction between the hand/forearm and the floor.
“Action” (Side Plank (Downwards)): As the time of the interval starts, begin with a deep exhalation and rotate your entire body towards the floor, while attempting to “curl the floor, by trying to move your hands and feet toward each other.” (The word “action” is in quotation, because – due to the friction – between your hands and the floor and your feet and the floor, no movement will happen. Instead, the result is a strong contraction of the abdominal muscles.)
“Action” (Side Plank (Upwards)): On the subsequent inhalation, the athlete/client reverses the rotation and rotates backwards, past neutral, until your body is rotated towards the ceiling. Contract the posterior deltoid and rhomboid muscles of the supporting shoulder to get a full rotation. Keep “curling the floor, by trying to move your hands and feet toward each other.” Higher friction is achieved when the supporting forearm is placed at an angle greater than 90 degrees with the body.
You will feel that when the body is rotated towards the floor, muscle fibres closer to the front of the body are engaged. When the body is rotated towards the ceiling you will feel that muscle fibres closer to the back side of the body are engaged.
You may think of your torso as a roast on a rotating spear. The floor is the hot fire that melts the fat away!
Breathing: Use French Press Diaphragmatic Breathing (FPDB) as described below. During the exhalation it is your goal to create the strongest possible contraction (Intensity 5). During the inhalation, it is your goal to slightly lower the intensity to 4. You should still move your hands and feet towards each other, but do so with slightly less force.
Give the exercise a try and let me know, what you think!
PS: You can learn more about French Press Diaphragmatic Breathing in our A Course In Breathing. Click here.
PPS: In next week’s blog, you can learn about Caribbean Callisthenics, a circuit program that I did together with the Ground Based Abs Program. Caribbean Callisthenics is going to be a bonus to those who invest in the Ground Based Abs Program