It is rare, I don’t believe any ONE exercise or Ultimate Sandbag exercise can be all that high and mighty. However, after going through my personal experience with injuries, treating so many people for a variety of theirs, and doing some serious research, THIS ONE Ultimate Sandbag exercise might fit that requirement. Ironically, it might be the least sexy exercise you could think of, truly.
I am talking about the side plank! Oh before you stop reading and are done rolling your eyes listen why I think you will be really shocked! Of course too, we won’t do it the typical way you think of side planks.
I don’t think anyone ever pumped their fist or cheered when they did side planks. They aren’t new (at least yet) and people say they do them all the time so what is the point of talking about them?
For one, you need to prioritize side planks, not just pretend they are your broccoli before you get to the ice cream! That means being really intentional and appreciating WHY they are so important!
There are so many DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise progressions we can use from the idea of a side plank.
You know I hate long anatomy lessons so we aren’t going to do that, plus we are complex and real world creatures. So, let’s talk about what happens when we actually move! We have heard your glutes are super important and they are! I mean ALL your glutes though. Yea, the superstar of the glutes tends to be the glute maximus (man, sounds like a great Roman general no?!).
The glute maximus is important but so are the gluteus medius and minimus. They don’t sound as mighty, but as many researchers point out, they make up “the hip rotator cuff”. We focus so much on the powerful maximus creating tons of force, but the reality is the glutes are almost as much, if not more so, important in resisting force.
According to the Official Journal of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, “Hip extensors (gluteus maximus) play a major role in stabilizing the pelvis during trunk rotation, or when the center of gravity is grossly shifted.” Most talk about the glute maximus being for just power, but it has a major role in stability. What about its smaller siblings?
The paper goes on to discuss, “The hip abductor functions in midstance to stabilize the pelvis, preventing a downward inclination (Trendelenburg sign) during single leg stance. In the face of hip abduction weakness, increased muscular requirements of the lateral trunk stabilizers (i.e., quadratus lumborum) are necessary in order to better stabilize the pelvis. In light of issues of lateral dominance and an understanding of the kinesiology of pelvic and trunk musculature, increased abductor strength on the left side may theoretically help to prevent low back pain occurrence.”
I told you that such things were kinda boring to most, but it is good to know that we don’t live on tables and our bodies are more sophisticated than even a good anatomy book lets on!
Getting all these muscles to work is obviously important and that is why the side plank, not the front plank, is a big part of renown spinal expert, Dr. Stuart McGill’s, big 3 core stability exercises.
Now you may THINK you know side planks and that’s great, but let’s introduce our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise spin to them.
Doing side planks is great, but getting more out of them and training the body as it is designed is even better! While most people only focus on the side of the body close to the floor, both sides really need to be active. That is because the body is never just working one aspect, or one side. The natural chains of the body are always, in many ways, trying to create more efficient movements.
That is why one of the best places to start with the side plank is our Ultimate Sandbag exercise, Iso Pulls. People RIGHT off the bat notice how much stronger they feel and better stability they have. Why? Because when you create tension through the chains and the core FIRST, moving the rest of the body becomes so much easier. Using the lat, core, and glute connection we see how we are tapping into using the design of the body and not just doing “another exercise”.
Once we can do about ten repetitions with a five second hold we can move onto adding lower body movement of the top leg. Now this may not seem innovative, but we are not doing so just to make the exercise more difficult. Activating the hip of the top leg we are getting that other cross pattern of lat, core, and hip with the shoulder on the ground. This may help with those that tend to hike up their shoulder and lose stability.
What does it look like? Check out how physical therapist, Jessica Bento, and I break down some keys getting more out of your side planks, see how they transfer to other great functional training exercises, and don’t miss on DVRT Restoration coming soon (you can sign-up below and get a SPECIAL discount on the release).
Oh, I know what you might be asking….”does it matter if I do this with the Ultimate Sandbag?” You might not be surprised to hear me say, “well, yea!” Why though? Creating tension in the suitcase handle pre-loads the core and the chains so that extending the hips and holding one’s body feels easier because you are using the RIGHT muscles to support the movement and posture. Not any one individually, but the connection that helps them move in real life. Other implements don’t allow the pre-tension and PROGRESSIONS that we use in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercise selection.
It isn’t about just using the Ultimate Sandbag, but knowing when to use the RIGHT tool!
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