The core consists of several muscles that work together to support ideal postures and efficient
movement patterns. Having a strong and coordinated system can help to reduce stress on the
spine and prevent injury.
One simple exercise that can be incorporated into your daily routine with less than a 5 minute
commitment is called a plank. The plank is an excellent exercise to activate core musculature
while minimizing compressive loads on the spine. It can be progressed by increasing the
duration of hold, performing on an unstable surface, or by attempting a more challenging
The following is an example of a plank progression that can be performed at home with minimal
equipment. These are listed in order of increasing challenge. Start at the top and work your way
down. Once you can complete three sets for 60 seconds with good form, move on to the next
1. Front Plank on Table Place your forearms on the table with your elbows near the edge. The lower the table,
the more challenging the exercise. Walk your feet slowly away from the table. Feeling
your weight through your forearms and the balls of your feet, tighten up the muscles in
the front of your abdomen. Keep your back flat and avoid arching.
2. Lie on a mat with your stomach facing down and forearms flat on the floor. Your
shoulder should be aligned directly above your elbows. With your forearms and knees
remaining on the ground, engage your core and lift your hips. Keep your back flat all the from your head to your knees.
3. Front plank on Toes
Lie on a mat with your stomach facing down and forearms flat on the floor. Your shoulders should be positioned directly above your elbows. With your forearms and toes remaining on the ground, lift your body up off the mat. Try to maintain a straight alignment from your head to your ankles, not allowing your hips to rise or drop.
Fun fact: In February of 2020, a 62 year old male broke the world record for the longest plank with a time of 8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds. While a hold of this duration is not necessary for healthy core stability, it is amazing what the human body is capable of!
For more information on how to strengthen your core, be sure to tune in to the Warm Springs Holistic Health youtube channel for this week’s health tip video.