We know having a strong core is important. Core strength helps keep us stable, balanced, and mobile. But what’s the best way to increase core strength?

Plank Core ExercisesIn the past, isolated movements like sit-ups and crunches were go-to exercises. However, research shows to get better results faster… choose integrated exercises.

Dr. Jinger Gottschall, Ph.D, recently conducted a study on the subject at Penn State University. Her team wanted to know which exercises used the greatest amount of muscle activation. Twenty subjects performed a variety of core exercises while the team measured muscle activity using surface electromyography.

The results? Researchers concluded the abdominal and lumbar muscles were activated the most during exercises that recruited the deltoid muscles and glutes, or distal trunk muscles. They reported the benefits of incorporating such integrated core exercises into your fitness plan include:

  • Maximizing strength
  • Improving endurance
  • Enhancing stability
  • Reducing injury
  • Maintaining mobility

The plank is great exercise that engages the deltoids and glutes. It can be performed in a variety of ways including:

To increase intensity in a plank, add additional movements like drawing a knee to chest or opposite elbow to perform a mountain climber. On the stability ball with hands on the ground, tuck knees to chest pulling in the ball with your feet to add an additional abdominal crunch. To decrease intensity in a plank, drop knees to the floor.

Make integrated exercises using distal trunk muscles a core part of your exercise program!

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