Posted by: pointlenana | February 2, 2016

Exercise of the Month – Jan 2016: Dynamic Front Planks

This series of posts was started for an online running forum I’m part of.  For January, I just posted it there but I wanted to find it and it was kind of a pain to scroll looking for it.  So, I’m going to post them here and then just post the link in the forum.  Here’s the January post…

Exercise of the Month, in which I will share with you some of the fun/different things PTs have taught me to help keep my ever-more-decrepit body functioning (sort of) in running mode.  Not surprisingly, these are mostly functional-for-running exercises, meaning lots of single leg stuff with movement.
January Edition:  Dynamic Front Planks
Two different exercises here.  Work up to 2 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg and each exercise.  Focus on controlled movement with range of motion, not racing through them.  If they are hard at first, just do fewer reps and/or one set.  Maybe start with one set in the beginning.  After ~2 months I’m up to 2 sets of 10 reps.
Exercise The First:  Leg Drivers.  This is a combo of downward dog and mountain climber.   Start in a plank position.  Raising one leg off the ground, lift up into a downward dog position with the raised leg in a straight line with your back and arms.  Then move back down to a plank while bringing the knee of the raised leg forward to the elbow of the opposite arm (e.g. planking on left leg, moving right leg, touching right knee to left elbow).  Return to the single-leg downward dog.  That’s one rep.  Now continue to a single leg plank/mountain climber, then downward dog, etc..  Things to watch:  use your glute to drive the raised leg back in downward dog, try to hinge at your hips in downward dog (vs. rounding your back – bend the supporting leg if necessary due to tight hamstrings), and work towards a flat plank (vs. lifting your butt in the air) since this works your core more.

Exercise The Second:  Planks with twists.  Start in plank again, lift one leg up and out a little.  That’s the start/end position for each rep.  Then bring the raised knee forward and under the supporting leg/side at about hip level.  Return to the start position and repeat.  The main things to watch here are: use your glutes to drive your leg up and out at the end of each rep, twist through the supporting hip as you bring the raised leg under your body.

Videos:  Neither of these demonstrate the movements exactly as described above but they give you the idea:

Leg drivers: Seconds 11-14 of this video. 

Twisty planks: Instead of alternating legs, do continuous reps one side. And keep the plank more flat.


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