If you’re a runner and the side plank is missing from your training routine then let me tell you something, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
The side plank and all of its variations are often overlooked. Not only is it too challenging for some but being that you’re on your side and not planting both feet into the ground, runners tend to opt for the traditional plank because it’s more popular and less challenging.
The problem with the traditional plank is that you’re typically training bilaterally instead of unilaterally – meaning that you’re training both sides of the body at the same time as opposed to working each side individually. The benefit of unilateral exercises is that you strengthen muscle imbalances that may exist which in turn prevents common injuries and makes you a stronger (and faster) runner.
Over the course of the last few weeks I introduced a series on how to incorporate unilateral training from the ground up. Of course, I have go to Ultimate Sandbag exercises to help me build you up! I started with the building the glute bridge then progressing the bird-dog movement. Today, I am going to go through a series on how to properly progress the side plank using some great Ultimate Sandbag exercises.
Some great of my Ultimate Sandbag exercises for better and stronger glutes! (Find out more HERE)
As I mentioned, if you’re not doing already doing side planks (especially with these Ultimate Sandbag exercises to connect the body better!) then you’re totally missing out on a key part of your unilateral training…especially if you’re a runner. To break it down, the side plank exercise builds lateral strength and stability – which is KEY to not only building a stronger core but also activating the muscles that connect your lower body to your upper body, specifically the quadratus lumborum. The QL (quadratus lumborum) acts to stabilize the pelvis and spine during activities such as walking and running meaning that if it’s weak, your running form will suffer…which clearly is NO bueno.
Why not just do the traditional side plank and forgo adding weight? Well, like I mentioned activating your lats is super duper important and incorporating the Core Bag allows you do to so and add weight progressively. However, I know some will wonder why THESE Ultimate Sandbag exercises are better than using a dumbbell or kettlebell? Well, first try it! Very simply, leverage and the weight distribution allows you to create tension before you start moving making you tap into more muscles for better movement.
There are actually SEVERAL Ultimate Sandbag exercises that allow variations and ways to progress it but for the purpose of this series, I am gonna keep it simple.
Next week we will continue to work our way building strength from the ground up with a series of new unilateral progressions using DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises. These progressions will help you to build the unilateral strength you need to not only do more advanced exercises but also help to identify and correct muscle imbalances making you a stronger, faster and more resilient runner.
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