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Bringing the Side Planks to Life!

power training

If there is anything that makes me happy, it is seeing when other fitness professionals have those “ah-ha” moments in our system. You see their eyes light up, you see their excitement, and all at the same time they may not even realize they are getting me so pumped when I hear about how they have achieved such incredible results for themselves and the people they work with. 

Stories like Tamara’s for example, really hit me! What a lot of people fail to realize, when you lose the freedom of movement, it takes away so much of your life. The things you love and the overall confidence you have to do things. It isn’t just physical, but emotional and social issues too. That is why I love sharing feedback like Tamara’s…

“It has been quite the journey since being diagnosed back in 2009, my first goal was to teach myself to dance again, which was and still is, no easy task.

I hired a personal trainer over 5 years ago to help me build strength on the left side of my body. We started out using bodyweight and 5 lb. dumbbells for most of the workouts. Then he introduced me to the DVRT program and that is when my true potential started to shine through. I could write a ton more about my journey but fast forward to today. I do continue to gain strength and have become a personal trainer and program DVRT into a majority of my client’s workouts. It’s pretty cool to have a modality in which you can do power, strength, corrective/mobility exercises, there’s no limit!

I watch various coaches on Instagram and my movements don’t quite look as smooth. But for me, I look at my form and take great pride over the amount of progress I have made and continue to make.”

These types of stories are awesome inspiration, but what do they have to do with the idea of side planks? Honestly, I am just using side planks as an example for a larger point. So many times when I speak to coaches they will ask me,“what do I think of this exercise?” What they don’t realize is they haven’t given me anything CLOSE to enough information. 

-What are the goals?

-What have you already done?

-What specific issues are you addressing with this particular movement?

-Where are you going with the training program? 

side planks

You see it isn’t as black and white as “good or bad”. However, aren’t some exercises like side planks universally good? I would say overall they are rarely bad, but the issue can be, are we achieving what we hope with such exercises like side planks. Don’t get me wrong, we love trying to establish a foundation of lateral strength with side planks, but there are two issues that I really want to address with the use of side planks. 

  1. We don’t stop lateral strength training just because we aren’t laying on our sides anymore. Taking the strength we build in side planks SHOULD be continued in more dynamic programs. 
  2. Not everyone can perform a side plank. Whether it is due to injury, de-conditioned, often elderly, there are many people where using a side plank just isn’t possible. What do we do then? 

In both cases, the answer lies in proper progression. Going from our side, we love to use half kneeling progressions to help bring in the elements of the side plank while offering both the opportunity to use more dynamic drills and take the benefits of lateral strength training to more functional arenas. 

That doesn’t mean we just do “stuff” in each exercise we look for the nuances of the exercise. Even in the side plank we look for the subtle techniques that help us bring this power to life. 

Robin Paget shows how we take the concepts of side planks but bring them to life in so many dynamic ways. Remember, don’t focus just on the exercise, but what the exercise is suppose to teach our body about movement!

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