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Why This Can Be The MOST Powerful Side Plank

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Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator of DVRT Restoration, Level 1 & 2 Certifications,

DVRT Rx Courses For Shoulders, Pelvic Control, & Shoulders)

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Lately I’ve made a very concerted effort to help people better understand what our DVRT principles and Ultimate Sandbag itself does to improve movements we can be familiar with in training. A lot of times people will learn a new exercise and not realize all the components that make it a really powerful drill. An example that will help many of you is the Copenhagen side plank.

side plank

Named for Norwegian researchers that found using different levels of this exercise reduced the groin injuries in soccer players. Sounds good right? Cased closed? Well, not so fast. There are issues that people are not considering and therefore not getting benefits from the exercise and could even lead to developing problems.

Why do Copenhagen side planks work and what can that tell us about being more aware of how we teach and use them? Of course no one knows exactly why, but the research has pointed us in an important direction. The adductors of the body are not primarily used to pull the leg from the side to the midline of the body. Yes, they CAN do this, but that isn’t really what their design is intended. The adductors work to create movement of the femur under the pelvis during the leg swing phase, while also controlling motion of the pelvis over a relatively fixed leg during the single-leg support phase.

If that went over your head, basically the adductors help along with other muscles to keep our pelvis in proper position and create efficient hip extension when we are walking and running which is predominately on one leg. However, what many people tend to miss is that the adductors not only work along with other lower body muscles, but the core (more specifically the obliques) to create what is known as the anterior oblique sling.

POS 300x264 - Why This Can Be The MOST Powerful Side Plank

What is that many people miss out on such an exercise like the Copenhagen side plank then? After all, aren’t you hitting those muscles when you perform the Copenhagen side plank? Yes, but there are some key considerations we have to make and things we have to do in order to make the exercise better.

Progression Of Copenhagen Side Plank

Whether it is due to lack of training, imbalanced training, or not connecting the body in the way it is designed, many people don’t have very strong adductors. The Copenhagen side plank was measured on higher level soccer players and that isn’t the same as someone who just started working out or doing it for just a bit. In fact, well trained soccer players have VERY strong adductors from running and much of their training. The point is that many of the people that you work with or even yourself may not have the same level of strength in their adductors and going right into Copenhagen side planks could make people REALLY sore or even strain their adductors.

Starting less aggressive and building up strength of the Anterior Oblique Sling, we can use some DVRT progressions like I show below…

Using more single leg based drills is a great way to build up the AOS chain as we also accomplish other fitness goals all at once.

Even using drills like our Arc Press in different positions allows us to build up the tolerance of these muscles while also teaching them how to function properly.

Then when we DO choose that the Copenhagen side plank is appropriate, making sure we teach the concepts of HOW we create the movement and how we use the Ultimate Sandbag to make stronger progressions is going to give us far more effective results! In the video below, check out how we take steps to integrate the body in smarter ways so that we don’t get stuck on one exercise, but we understand the concepts BEHIND the exercise.

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