Fitness Education: Side Plank + Pallof Press

 

In today’s Operation Health@Home Exercise Education segment, join exercise physiologist Marlene DaCosta as she reviews the side plank and the Pallof Press exercise.  These core training exercises also known as anti-rotation exercises, target the obliques (the muscles that are at the sides of our body) and the deep muscles that stabilize the spine.

Side Plank (Beginner)

The bent knee version of the side plank is a good place to start if you are new to this exercise or want to slowly increase the intensity over time.

Preparation:  To start, lie on your side in a bent knee position (about 90 degrees) with the support of your forearm on the floor under your shoulder.  Your arm should be perpendicular to your body.  At this point, your hips are slightly flexed.

Execution:  You will then lift your body upward by pushing your hips forward.  Your hips and waist should be straight and rigid and your body should be aligned from the knees up.  Individuals with shoulder discomfort can place their hand over the shoulder of the opposite side and pull the elbow down across the chest.  Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Complete 3 sets of 10 seconds to start and gradually work your way up to a hold-time of 30 seconds each.

Side Plank (Advanced)

Preparation:  To perform an advanced version of the side plank, lie on your side with your forearm on the floor under your shoulder.  Your arm should be perpendicular to your body.  Place your top foot in front of your bottom foot, straightening your knees and hips.

Execution:  Lift your legs and hips up off the floor.  Your body should be straight and rigid.  Again, placement of the hand pulling down the opposite shoulder helps to relieve shoulder discomfort.  Placing your hand on your waist allows for a greater challenge.  Hold the position for ten seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Complete 3 sets of 10 seconds to start and gradually work your way up to a hold-time of 30 seconds each.

Pallof Press

If you have a shoulder injury and in need of an alternative, the Pallof Press exercise is a great option to explore.  This exercise can be done with a closed-loop resistance band or a resistance band with handles.

To set up, secure your band about chest height around an immovable object such as a post.  If you have tubing with handles that come with a door anchor, you would simply set the anchor in the door hinge, close it and loop the band through and create a knot to do your Pallof Press.

Move far enough away from the anchor post to create a level of resistance where you feel like you are being slightly pulled toward the anchor, but not too much where you cannot maintain proper form.  The farther out you go the more resistance or pull you will feel.

Position your body perpendicular to the band and interlock your fingers around the band or handle, with your hands in the middle of your chest.  Stand tall with your knees slightly bent.  Your head should be in a neutral position and not protruding forward.  Your shoulder blades should be down and back.  Do not allow your shoulders to slouch or round or your back to twist.

Execution:  Push to straight arms and pause.  Slowly pull back to the start position and repeat.  Exhale as you push, inhale as you return.

You should feel the muscles of your core, and arms engage as you try to maintain your position.

Complete 3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions per side.  Start with a light resistance band that is appropriate for you.  Gradually work your way up in repetitions first, before increasing the load with a heavier resistance band.


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