Monday, January 27, 2014

Healthy Habits for Your Back Pain

The Care and Relief of Back Pain


As part of internship at +Bauer Physical Therapy , Michelle Hoffmann, Physical Therapy Student at the Doctoral Program at Chapman University Program in Physical Therapy, presents: Caring for Your Back. 

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Please read on and watch the video below.



If you have experienced back pain then you know how it can affect your lifestyle and ability to engage in work and daily activity. Back pain can knock you down for days or weeks. You may have debilitating pain where you are confined to a bed, or the daily nagging ache that just wears on you. There may be localized pain, or numbness and tingling that refers to the legs. 

Back pain presents itself differently based on the structures involved. There are many sources of pain that can be referred from the spine and surrounding tissue. This is why careful assessment and diagnosis is required to identify the culprit of your complaints.  


Back Pain is not Created, or Treated, Equally.

There are many treatments purported to relieve back pain once and for all. This just is not true. The relief of back pain requires looking at all possible causes and developing an individualized treatment program to address the potential stressors. 


Back pain can be the result of accumulated stressors that act on the spinal structures over time. These are a few causes of repetitive stress

  • Postural habits
  • Lifting technique
  • Repetitive movements
  • Repetitive compression(sitting, bouncing)
  • Poor mechanics: golf, tennis
  • Poor preparation: lack of fitness
Repetitive stress must be avoided to lessen the build up of forces acting on the culprit structures so that healing can take place. In the long-term, this includes a host of educational opportunities that are specific to each individual.

Once a back patient, always a back patient. There must be commitment and development of daily habits that promote a healthy back. These habits include:
  • Exercise specific to trunk muscles and improved fitness.
  • Attention to posture at work and home.
  • Mechanics of lifting and bending(squat).
  • Sitting and Chair selection while relaxing or at work.
  • Relaxation techniques to manage stress and pain.
  • Fatigue avoidance strategies in static and dynamic activity.

There is no one way to treat back pain. In many cases it did not take a day or a week for your pain to manifest itself. Likewise, it will not take a day, a week, or even a month to restore your body and relieve your back pain.

Managing Back Pain Begins with Education





If you have questions regarding your back pain please leave a comment below and sign up for the Healthy Back & Healthy Habits.

Practicing for over 25 years, +Randy Bauer has treated a variety of surgical and non-surgical cases involving the spine(neck and back). From the 'stay-at-home-mom', the weekend warrior, the high school athlete, business person and entrepreneur, and high-level athlete, all have been treated with the same passion and expertise, addressing each with the desire to Get Better.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

How Positive Learning and Community Motivate Change

Appreciating Positive Change, Learning and Community 


Finding meaning in your work, creating your art and gathering knowledge are pursuits that transform personal well-being, businesses, and society a like. The movement forward requires imagining possibilities, perseverance, and hope of a bright future. There is learning, sharing of this knowledge, and mindful awareness of each step on your journey to realize your dreams. This requires bringing your strengths to the table; the best version of you and what you provide to your tribe, community, or workplace.

There is a process of motivating change called Appreciative Inquiry(AI). The focus of AI is targeted learning from a positive frame to accelerate the behavior-change process. This process can be applied to individual or group settings.



Principles of Appreciative Inquiry


There is a underlying question as you move through the AI change process. This question is, "How do I get that?"



  • Choose the Positive as the Focus of Inquiry
  • Inquire into Positive Moments
  • Share the Stories
  • Create Shared Images of the Future
  • Innovate and Improvise to Create that Future



Personal Learning Journey

http://sachachua.com/blog/2013/10/what-do-i-want-to-learn-about-learning/













It was 10 years ago that creating a personal learning environment  became an idea. Around this time I was introduced to expanding my physical therapy practice to include wellness and coaching. The book that set this in motion was written by +Lynn Grodzki, Building Your Ideal Private Practice: A Guide for Therapists and Other Healing Professionals (2000). In this book was content that opened my eyes to delivering information and service to my clients, further defining how I do my work, and continuing to find my niche. 

The Journey always begins with now, an attention to the present moment. Awaking to the positive images, details and richness of what is right before us; mindful and aware.


"Our standards change when we are infected with a new awareness." 

A mindful awareness of the present gives positive movement on the journey. This rewards us with health and well-being, creativity and meaning in our actions.

Mindfulness has continued to be a personal learning influence first inspired by the readings of Jon Kabat-Zinn(Full Catastrophe Living) and Saki Santorelli(Heal Thy Self). These books, initially just foot-noted resources in the Building Your Ideal Private Practice, would not have been discovered without some openness to learning and attention to the small print.


Through my work as a physical therapist, learning resources, and exposure to social influences, I have continued to build on this personal learning environment, and my journey to now.


The Future: Always Forward, Never Straight

It is now thirteen years later. The social media networks and platforms that are available for learning, sharing and networking with others, has expanded my personal learning environment, and the possibilities of what the future may(will) bring. Being exposed to and taking part in the +Google+ movement of content curation, social sharing and communities, learning opportunities and business networking, is a shift in learning and a new way of doing business. I am constantly inspired by the stories of those on their own journey, and the kindling of my own. 

+Robin Good (masternewmedia) is a wealth of knowledge in content curation, as seen by following this link to his scoop.it page.

He makes an excellent scoop of Ben Bett's content on  Framework for Using Content Curation in a Learning Organization.

These insights include:

Inspiration through curating community feedback and insights.

Aggregation of curated resources are better than courses.

Integration, or Personal Knowledge Management(PKM), for curation and critical thought as a core to the teaching and learning processes. 

Application of curation as a personal "learning locker".

See the Personal Knowledge Management White Paper, by +Harold Jarche  at:http://www.jarche.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/PKM-2013.pdf

The PKM framework elaborates on capturing knowledge by using:

Seek > Sense > Share

  • Seeking to find things out and keeping up to date.
  • Sensing is how we personalize information and use it.


  • Sharing includes exchanging and collaborating within our networks and colleagues. 


The social platform of Google Plus, Scoop.it has enabled the sharing of daily learning and thought provoking experiences in communities and the social stream. Finding purpose and making sense of the information is the creative challenge.

Fitness and Nutrition

Because Fitness is not a Coincidence
Fitness & Nutrition Community


















+Ryan Hanley
Providing valuable content with his +Content Warfare podcasts. I recommend listening to his podcast with +Dino Dogan on Human Engine Optimization.






+Neila Rey 
Providing valuable content and inspiring infographics with tips on health, fitness and personal challenges.



+Plus Your Life! 
+martin shervington has been a valuable resource for learning all things Google, and his quotations provide a dose of motivation, inspiration and thought.

When we anticipate the future with positivity we become more creative, resilient and resourceful. This is strengthened with a positive vision that is proleptic.







These communities and individuals provide social engagement with positive questions and reflections that can be re-purposed in your business, health or lifestyle pursuits


'Words do not create worlds 
unless they are shared with others.'

There is a positive shift in conversations and interactions that allows participants to flourish. The moment that you ask a positive question, share a positive story, or share a positive reflection their is the possibility of change in the world that you live. Positive relations and engagement are vital to the well-being and quality of life.





There is a positive change that when you create or design content and share this knowledge, perpetuating the circle of giving.

In the words of Jim Rohn,


"Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by Change"

The possibilities and seeds of change are everywhere. Magnificent work that strengthens the resolve to do better business, take better care of your health and nutrition, provide motivation and inspiration are all at your finger tips.

Positive energy and emotions lead to positive actions and outcomes. We can not do this alone. Through these interactions and conversations there are stories and frameworks developed. In the words of Zander and Zander,


"We might as well invent a story or framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us."

Whether you are listening to the health of your body, business, or life in general, positive change can take place if there is a focus on strengths. Inherent in all of us is the strength that exists in some aspect of our life; a best version of what there is to offer, shared in the form of expertise, action toward a bright future, and well-being, as an individual and as a member in a thriving community. 

I would appreciate any feedback that you may have regarding Appreciative Inquiry, Personal Knowledge Management, Personal Learning Environment, and how you use content to learn, share and expand your pursuits in business, health and wellness.

What do you want to change?

How will you get there?





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Game Plan for Youth Athlete Success

A Game Plan for Success in the Youth Athlete

Success is No Accident
The Youth Athlete is experiencing rates of injury at greater proportions. These injuries can be life threatening, such as head trauma that occurs in concussion. Injuries can involve ligaments, muscles and bones sustained as a result of sudden or repetitive trauma. The fact is that many of these injuries can be avoided with proper education and design of performance enhancing training programs. The goal of the Game Plan for Success program is the health and well-being of the young athlete in sports, and through adulthood.


Proprioceptive Training
There is a growing demand for the young athlete to play in sports year round, participating in school and club sports, often specializing in one sport before entering high school. The result is an athlete that has not developed athleticism, and is only exposed to consistent movement patterns and experiences. 

As a practicing physical therapist with over 25 years of experience training athletes of all ages and abilities, I have seen far too many young athletes suffer an injury that has sidelined there participation in sports for a season, and a career. There are two primary causes to this growing rate of youth injuries:

Overexposure to injury due to increased practice and competition.
I have had discussions with soccer athletes returning from college, and when asked if they are playing more soccer in college or high school/club, the answer is always high school/club. Too many contacts through out year round play in games and practice, combined with limited rest and recovery, a there will be an increased frequency of injury.

Lack of specific and individualized training progression.
Designing a sport-specific training program requires careful consideration of individual abilities, musculoskeletal development and the demands of the season. Many injuries are directly related to poor training program design. A sports performance training program must include core components:


  • Reduce the risk and prevention of injury strategies
  • Neuromuscular and Proprioceptive training 
  • Health and well-being (Recovery, Nutrition, Mental Preparation) 
  • Education of youth athlete, parents, and coaches. 
  • Fitness and Health Testing


The training of a 12 year old will require a program that is different than that of a high school senior. Likewise, training a female athlete will demand a different approach to training than that of a male athlete. The female athlete is 7 times more likely to injure the Anterior Cruciate Ligament(ACL) than their male counterpart. These findings express the need for gender specific training programs.


Recommended book by +Warren Potash 


They're Not Boys - Safely Training the Adolescent Female Athlete




Game Plan for Success: Youth Athlete (follow this link)
By completing the above link you will begin to define Your Game Plan for Success. Randy Bauer, Physical Therapist will contact you with an personal email for a 20-minute session to outline Your First Steps to a Game Plan. If you have any comments or questions please enter in the comment session below.



Strategies that prevent re-injury also demand attention. Young athletes that are injured have a greater incidence of reoccurring injury. Return to play strategies must include fear avoidance strategies, progressive return to play opportunities and development of fitness levels consistent with competitive demands.

Included below are a series of excerpts that discuss the youth athlete game plan for injury prevention, sport-specific training, fitness and health. 



https://plus.google.com 06/03/2013 18:40

Youth athletes are being overexposed to practice and competition in sports, and the result is increased overuse and traumatic injury. Youth sports is important for the development of our children's well-being. The are some helpful tips that can be followed to take proactive approach to monitoring the youth athlete. There must be an Athlete Game Plan that ensures safety and well-being of the youth athlete.
#athletegameplan   #youthsports   #youthsoccer   #overuseinjury  
Read more ...

Performance Nutrition for Energy, Recovery and Health

http://www.slideshare.net 2011-11-07

A Successful Athlete will have a Game Plan. A Vital Component to High Level Performance is Nutrition. Performance Nutrition Provides Energy for Training, Recovery and Maintains Mental Function, all Vital to Success on the Competitive Field.
Read more ...

Speed Training and Dynamic Warm-up

GamePlan for Success:Speed Training Dynamic Warm Up
http://www.slideshare.net 2011-10-09 
Speed training requires proper warm-up to prepare for the workout session. Speed training is an intensive neuromuscular activity. Proper preparation is required for successful outcome and injury prevention. Gear For Success: Athlete Wellness Game Plan


Speed Testing and Training for Football

Football Training: Speed Testing and Training Considerations
http://www.slideshare.net 2012-08-11 
Football Speed Considerations Energy systems Testing considerations Periodization Dynamic Warm-up Speed training Sprint techniques Specific-conditioning Presented by Randy Bauer Bauer Physical Therapy Laguna Hills, CA www.bauerpt.com 94 ...
Read more ...


Ankle Injuries in Soccer: Treatment and Prevention

GamePlan forAthlete Success: Treatment and Prevention of Ankle Injuries in Soccer
http://www.slideshare.net 2011-07-30 23:47:38 UTC
Ankle sprains are common in soccer. Prevention and initial treatment of the ankle sprain will improve return to play and reduce the incidence and re-injury, maximizing performance on the field. www.bauerpt.com
Read more ...

Return to Play Following an ACL Injury

https://plus.google.com 10/20/2013 14:02
ACL Injury: When Can I Play?

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament(ACL) Injury devastates athletes of all ages. From the aspiring young athlete to the seasoned professional. Careers are interrupted and often ended by the ACL injury.


Reducing the risk of injury requires preparing the athlete to meet the sport-specific demands of the activity. Decreasing the exposure to injury is another way to impact the growing number of sports injury, specifically in the young athlete population. 



The development of sport and age-specific training programs must consider neuromuscular and technical training concepts to ensure gradual progression of a comprehensive performance based program. The young athlete must not be trained 'as if ' they are already at the next level.

Read more on Overexposing the Youth Athlete to Injury  http://goo.gl/6Hlf29

Read More on the Mechanism of Injury and Reducing the Risk of ACL Injury in Soccer http://goo.gl/MNpgAF

Read More on Teens and ACL Injury: Reducing the Exposure and Return to Play  http://goo.gl/ZWUilO

#aclinjury #youthsportsinjuries #returntoplay

+Warren Potash +Bradford Lowry +Joe Napolitani +Soccer Talk

Read more ...



Monday, November 11, 2013

Hip Flexor Pain, Injury and Stretch

Hip Flexor Pain and Cause of Injury

Do You ever experience pain in the groin, or front of the hip?

You may have a pain on the front of the hip that increases when you get up from a seated position.

You may have experienced pain out on the dance floor, twisting and gyrating the hips and body in varied directions.




If you are training for a sport, have you been sidelined with that non-stop pain that prevents a full stride, makes it difficult to drive the knee forward as you would if running hills or stairs

The Hip Flexor May be the Culprit

The hip flexors are an important muscle group responsible for movement action at the hip and trunk. Together, the hip flexor muscles are involved in every day activities of walking, running, or going up stairs. The anatomical positioning of the hip flexor muscles has influence of postural positioning, fluidity of movement, and strength and power. Injury of hip flexors can result from overuse, acute injury and chronic postural imbalances. You do not have to be a sprinter, or dancer to sustain injury to the hip flexor muscle group.

Hip Flexor Anatomy

Hip Flexor Anatomy

The hip flexor muscles primarily consist of the iliopsoas muscle, which are made up of the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus.

The secondary muscles essential in flexing the hip in order of importance include the rectus femoris, and sartorius, followed by the TFL, adductor longus/brevis, and gracilis muscles.



The Cause of Hip Flexor Injury

Tight hip flexors can be commonly seen in those who excessively and repetitively flex their hips, such as runners and soccer players. Hip flexor tightness can also cause weakness of the primary hip extensors since the gluteal muscles will be placed in a lengthened position resulting in minimized force contraction capabilities.

The Lower Crossed Syndrome (see below image) references the result of muscular imbalances of the lower trunk that influence shortening and lengthening of the abdominals, back muscles, posterior hip and anterior hip.

It is also commonly seen in individuals who sit for extended periods of time as well since it places the muscle in a shortened position leading to muscle contracture. The result is a hypertonic, short muscle that is susceptible to muscular strain and injury.



Lower Crossed Syndrome
Another issue that may arise from tight hip flexors is low back pain. Tight hip flexors result in an increased anterior pelvic tilt position, which increases the lordotic curve in the low back, and resulting in low back pain. An increased lordotic curve will also cause the curvature of the entire spine to increase as well leading to forward head posture and increase curvature in the mid back.

A combination of weak abdominals and tight hip flexors will also accentuate low back pain. Therefore a combination of stretching of the hip flexors and strengthening of your abdominals as well as core muscles are essential treatment options.

* It is important to note that anterior hip pain can be the cause of other problems resulting from joint, nervous system or internal organs. It is essential that one consult a medical doctor with pain that does not change, or go away. Proper diagnosis of injury allows for proper treatment.

How to Stretch a Hip Flexor

There are specific exercises that are used to effectively stretch and improve mobility of the hip flexor.

Please click here to view a video highlighting hip flexor tightness, testing and specific stretching.





+Bauer Physical Therapy  would like to thank +Peter Paik for the presenting this post and video on The Hip Flexor Pain and Cause of Injury with his overview on stretching the tight hip flexor.

Resources:

+Lauren Bertolacci of laurensfitness.comhttp://www.laurensfitness.com/2013/04/01/8-best-hip-flexor-stretches/  )

+Jimson Lee of speedendurance.com
http://speedendurance.com/2011/02/02/hamstring-injuries-iliopsoas-imbalances/ )


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mindful Meditation Practice Benefits Body, Mind and Positive Emotions


Mindful Mediation Benefits for Body - Mind - Positive Emotion


The Benefits of meditation are becoming substantiated by numerous research studies supporting improvements of body, mind and positive emotion. There is a growing body of research that supports the use of mindfulness meditation improves mental function, activates parts of the brain responsible for regulating emotions and social connection

Physiological benefits of meditation include positive effects on the circulatory and neuromuscular systems. This can influence our blood pressure, reduce pain, and relieve tension in our internal organs and muscles.

This helps establish the benefits of a mind and body connection when practicing meditation in a mindful manner. Becoming mindful to your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and environment, and experiencing these in the present is the foundation of meditation applied in a mindfulness practice.




http://www.nicabm.com/nicabmblog/mindfulness-works-heres-the-evidence/

Clinical practitioners are integrating Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR)in their clinical practice for pain control, relaxation, anxiety disorders, and to help with sleep disorders.

What is Mindfulness
The definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of  MBSR.


"Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment."

Despite the large body of research that supports meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction programs there continues to be a resistance to practice these techniques based on many preconceived notions.


Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Health Benefits a Meta-Analysis, Grossman, et al.(2003

These are but a few of these notions that connect meditation with myth, and give the name a bad rap.
  • It goes against my religious beliefs.
  • Chanting a mantra must be used.
  • It takes long hours to be performed correctly.
  • It is impossible to sit in a lotus position for a long time.

You do not need to be a Hippy to practice meditation to experience the benefits of health and positive emotions.





+Emma Seppala, PhD attributed to infograph 



The practice of mindfulness and meditation is just what it implies, practicing, however much time you have, a minute, a short break from your work tasks, or daily activity by:

  • Being present with nothing other than your breath. 
  • Giving attention to the moment you are in and doing so in a non-judgmental manner. 
  • Experiencing the possibilities within that breath, and the next breath... and what that reveals.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master and poet that was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize stated eloquently:


"Mindfulness is revealing and it is healing."


Please take the time to answer a few questions if they apply to You


  • How do You use Mindfulness and Meditation in Your Life?



  • Do You apply this in a clinical practice?



References:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Relieve Joint Pain Exercise or Supplements

Relieving Joint Pain with Exercise and Supplements

Ted Kinsman/Science Source
Suffering from joint pain as a result of osteoarthritis is both debilitating and costly. This has lead to an increase of joint replacement surgery. To avoid progression of degenerative joint disease the advancement of treatment protocols and proliferation of joint supplements and  exercise therapies has resulted in growing services and products. There are many supplements that have been reported to benefit the pain relief and further breakdown of the joint surface.

These supplements, including Chondroitin and Glucosamine, initially trialed on horses, are purported to do both, decrease pain and slow the breakdown of the cartilage surface of the joints.
The idea behind supplements is restoration of the weight bearing surface. There has been research that looks into the benefits of these supplements as a reliable treatment for mild to moderate osteoarthritis and knee pain




Due to the weight-bearing nature of the knees and hips, these joints are particularly sensitive to the loads of daily living. The result is progressive loss of function and performance with activities that include walking, sustained sitting and standing, stairs and bending. The progression of joint pain and functional loss then becomes a source of de-conditioning and potential weight gain. This leads to a cascading effect of diseased actions on the cardiovascular system(heart and circulation), and other systems of the body.

Exercise and weight loss in the aging individual is a proven method of relieving pain and improving functional ability when you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Maintaining healthy weight has a significant impact on reducing the stress to weight bearing joints. Orthopedist +Steven Meier  noted in a post that " for every pound of weight you lose there is a four fold decrease in the stress of each knee ".

There has been further research to support the benefits of Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis:

The combined diet and exercise group also showed reduced knee pain, better function, faster walking speed and better physical health - related quality of life, compare with the exercise only group.




What type exercise will benefit my joint pain?

When it comes to exercise for joint pain related to degenerative changes the bottom line is exercise more. It does not matter what type of exercise you do, Just Do It. 

The primary goals of exercise with degenerative joint changes are:
  • Improve mobility
  • Increase strength and endurance of the muscles
  • Decrease body weight if you are overweight
  • Maximize functional capacity
  • Experience less pain
Increasing strength of the muscles that support the joint provides controlled movement and absorption of joint forces. A body that is able to exercise and move increases vascular supply throughout the body and locally to joint, improving circulation to cartilage. Increasing weight bearing activities also benefits the the skeletal system, increasing body density. This helps to slow the softening of bones, Osteoporosis.

Exercise for joint pain can be applied by varied modes of activity with these goals in mind. 

Walking is a great activity that can be performed to engage the body in an activity, and provides a means of stress reduction. If you have mild to moderate joint pain try using walking poles, or sticks, to provide some relief of excessive joint stress. Using durable trekking poles on uneven terrain provides increased economy and additional calorie consumption over the long haul. On a recent trip on the John Muir Trail, Ron's Trek for Parkinson's, the trekking poles provided the necessary support and protection over the 80 miles that I accompanied my brother as he hiked the complete 210 plus mile journey.

Hiking With Sticks

Riding a bike is another activity that gets you outdoors, and minimizes excess loads to the hips and knees. Riding a stationary bike provides more control over workloads and ensures stability. Perform with light resistance initially, emphasizing revolutions per minute, or RPM's, greater than 70 RPM's. Light resistance with increased RPM's reduces the friction of the joint. Gradually increasing the tolerance of resistance and duration as this will provide an excellent stimulus to muscular strength and endurance that will carry over to you walking ability.

Aquatic exercise provides the benefits of reduced joint compression due to the buoyancy effects provided by the water. Exercising in the water is preferred if you have moderate to severe joint pain. Water activity can be swimming or a movement based program of designed exercises to engage the whole body. There are a variety of water exercise tools that can be used to support and resist your efforts.

There are additional exercises that are great for total body fitness and support for exercising joints that require improved mobility, endurance and balance.

Consult with a Physical Therapist
Physical Therapists are trained in the science of movement and exercise physiology, and how this relates to injury, pain and degenerative processes of the body. A Physical Therapist works closely with your Medical Specialist(Orthopedist) to design an individualized program, educate you on a home program, and progress your program to meet functional goals and return to activity. 
If you have any questions regarding exercise and what you can do to help your joint pain you may contact  +Randy Bauer through my website: Bauer Physical Therapy(http:bauerpt.com) or Page at +Bauer Physical Therapy .

Progress to movement based exercises can include Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. These activities, when engaged in a supportive environment are safe and effective modes of exercise, and provide added challenge to maximize your fitness and well-being.

There is much you can do to prevent the progression of joint pain and progression of degenerative changes of the joint. Self-management through intensive diet modification to reduce the effects of body weight on the joint, and an individualized exercise program designed to improve your functional capacity are backed by research. Supplementation, while supporting relief of symptoms of those experiencing pain related to mild to moderate joint changes, does not reverse the degenerative process, and does nothing for improving your functional ability to move and exercise.







Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Perfect the Plank


How to Get the Most Out of Your Plank

Weighted Plank +Wayne Washington 
The Plank is a great all-around core strengthening exercise. If practiced with attention to technique you can perfect the plank without subjecting yourself to injury.

In the Strength Training Lab, the Gym, you will find people performing many varieties of this exercise. Attention must first be given to the Classic Plank that +Neila Rey refers to in her awesome infographic.

The Classic Plank, performed from the forearms and toes, is a preferred technique to avoid weight-bearing on the hands. Performed from the hands, the plank can increase stress of the wrist.




Attention is given to correct posture of the neck, alignment of the spine and positioning of the hips.



If the head is allowed to sag downward stress can accumulate in the neck and upper scapular region of the shoulder blades.



If the back is allowed to sag downward, over accentuating the low back curve, like sway-back horse, stress can increase in the low back region. This can lead to low back pain and aggravation of pre-existing problems in the lumbar (low back) area.

Another common error is raising the butt to high. I refer to this as "teepee butt". Throw a sheet over the back and you have a tent.

Cure the Common Mistakes of the Plank


  • Keep the neck in a straight position with the chin slightly tucked.
  • Keep the back and spine in line with the head in this position.
  • Do not allow the spine to sag by drawing the abdominal muscles inward.
  • Keep the hips at the same level as the spine and head.
  • Breathing, keep breathing. In through the nose, out through the  mouth.

To begin your plank exercise use a timer positioned under your nose. Set the timer at 1-minute. Try to perform the "Classic Plank" exercise for as long as you can maintain good technique. Having a trainer monitor your exercise will provide the added benefit of watching your technique.

Modifications of the Plank

There are a variety of plank modifications that add value to the exercise.

  • Plank with alternating arm lift.
  • Plank with alternating leg lift.
  • Plank with alternating and opposite arm and leg lift.
  • Get ups, moving up and down from the "Classic Plank" position to the plank on hands position.
When you can perform a variety of plank exercises try the Plank 5-Minute Challenge .







The SmartBell Plank

The SmartBell is a 4.5-pound exercise tool that provides great wrist protection with a more neutral grasp. The weight of the SmartBell provides the added benefit of resistance to the exercise. I have used the SmartBell for over 6-years in my Physical Therapy Gym for functional based exercise, core strengthening and sport-specific exercise programs (Baseball, Volleyball, Tennis, Golf). 





For more information on the SmartBell, and how you can use this functional exercise tool for dynamic exercise you may contact me, or leave a comment below and I will get to you.

Perfecting the plank takes discipline and abdominal muscles with a strength base. Build your foundation with perfect form and progressive endurance and you will be ready for the next Plank-off at the gym, or the living room floor. Remember, you are your best opponent.





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