This weeks exercise of the week is a great advanced exercise for regular Side Planks. I originally got this from Brian Devlin a couple years ago and it is a few of my clients favourites.
Before I get into it here are couple of safety tips:
- Clients should have good core and scapula stability before attempting this exercise.
- Clients should try to avoid rotating through the lumbar spine too much. Instead let the hips rotate somewhat as you lower.
Begin in a regular side plank position. Lift your free arm and tuck your fingers behind you ear.
Rotate your top shoulder forward lowering your elbow towards the ground.
Keep on rotating until your elbow touches the ground.
Return back to the starting side plank position. You have now done one rep.
Yesterday I posted a video on the Facebook page from Dr. Stuart McGill who is considered to be one of the leading spine experts in the world. The exercise above might be considered a bit questionable as it advocates rotating the spine which is against his recomendation.
Pilates and Yoga on the other hand use rotation through the spine but without any load. This makes sense to me as some rotational flexibility should be available in your back.
Have you heard of Dr. McGill before? What are your thoughts on this? Pop your replies in the comments below. (If you are reading this in an email or RSS reader click here)
Here’s the video again if you missed it.
Waterloo’s Dr. Spine, Stuart McGill
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Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.
David Coulter says
Love the Grave Diggers!
Turns what is essentially an isometric exercise to a dynamic one… I can use reps instead of time!
I’ve used this exercise in my routines for a few years, and think it is quite effective for working the obliques. I have read that spinal rotation can be an issue for older people, those with osteoporosis, or who are poorly conditioned, etc. It can be problematic when there is “load” on the spine, such as when bending forward, or when performing a lunge with an upper body rotation. It is less of an issue for those populations if they were to perform a knee tuck while in a supine position where there’s no load on the spine.
I’ve watched his video in the past, but question it to a certain degree…I mean, how about all those activities that we perform on a daily basis that require rotation? When I have to back my truck out of a parking space, don’t I have to use some rotation to turn and look at what’s around? So would it not make sense to have the muscles developed to support that movement?
Thanks for all the good stuff, Kyle!
Thanks Patti. I agree that some rotation of the spine is important. I guess what he is encouraging is less movement through the lumber and more flexibility through the thoracic spine and hips which are designed to rotate.
That said, I know my stability and balance increased heaps (a lot) when I started doing exercises like the above.
The spine…. such a lovely subject. Also a very debatable subject. I feel often the misconception is that these rules have to do with being strong enough or fit enough, or flexible enough.
The Kinesiology with the rotations is typically most important when it comes to your inter-vertebral discs, and risk to stress fracture a vertebrae. While discs are more “spongy” at a younger age, and our bones more strong, that doesn’t mean because you can do it you should do it often and on purpose. As a personal trainer, and group instructor, and Kinetic Integrations (www.kineticintegrations.com) student I cannot begin to tell you how often I have to re-train new clients, and train new to fitness clients properly. I have to do this cause there is a visualy noticeable movement imbalance, and sometimes is also professional Diagnosed.
Often Yoga students have created a hyper flexibility in their lower back, shoulders, pelvis…etc, cross-fitters who can’t do a squat without keeping a mostly neutral spine, or knees that hurt…etc all from moving beyond kinetic ROM continually/frequently. These are imbalances that mess with the body’s appropriate stabilizers, which when compromised increase risk for injury of yourself and/or clients. So while flexibility and strength and endurance are important, so is keeping the body capable of movement currently throughout life.
This is why I think that there should be some serious consideration into what Dr. Spine is saying. The body can do some amazing things, especially during fight or flight mode, but that doesn’t mean that it is without causing damage.
Thoracic Spin ROM 60-70 degrees
Lumbar Spine ROM 10-13 degrees
Time it takes to get whip lash less than 1/2 a second…..
I apologize for some of my typos…. its what I get for using my phone.
Thanks for that info Jason. I use this exercise maybe once or twice in a two month period.
I always tell my clients that our bodies are created for short term/immediate survival. You see examples of this in exercise and in diet (weight gain). We need to use our brains to survive for a long time and keep healthy.
Misti Pope says
I need a little more clarification on the exercise please. I am assuming by the comments I read that you are sort of crunching at the side and go back to plank position over and over again, not just bending and holding in the forward/crunch position…? A video would be great!
Your assumptions are correct Misti! This a dynamic not a static exercise.