The spinal column is responsible for sending messages to the muscles in the body. And when it is not supported properly, your muscles don’t produce as much power as they should.
Even if you exercise regularly, you may not be doing enough to adequately strengthen your core. If you really want to know how strong your midsection is, take the plank test.
According to Stuart McGill, a spine biomechanics professor at Canada’s University of Waterloo and one of the world’s leading experts on back health, a person with sufficient core strength should be able to hold a plank for two and a half minutes.
Now, please note: Don’t hold the plank longer than you can with good form. Most new clients of mine can’t hold a plank for longer than 30 seconds or so without collapsing their neutral spine … so don’t worry if you’re not quite at two and a half minutes yet!
How to perform the plank
Lay flat and lift the hips along with the stomach and chest off of the floor – you’ll end up in a Push Up – type body position, but you’ll be resting on your forarms. Remember, your abs should be braced like you’re bracing for a punch in the stomach, your upper and lower body should be ‘tight’, and you should be able to breathe normally at the same time.
and hold the position for as long as you can.
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter how out of shape your core is, a regular routine of focused core training can help you build a rock-solid midsection. Even if your core is in tip-top condition, exercise is still essential to maintain its strength.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about how to strengthen your core – no matter what your current level is – you should check out this new section I’ve added to the site: