There are a number of movements that I see people doing poorly every single day. Wanna see me get really wound up, just start up a conversation with me about push-ups. I’ll. Never. Stop. Talking.

But as passionate as I am about correcting push-ups, before I can really start tackling them, I have to first address the plank … another position that is often butchered.

For years, I had no idea that I too was doing plank badly. I could hold it for several minutes but I still wasn’t really doing it right. I was actually kind of cheating and my poor lower back was paying for it.

How do you cheat in plank you ask? You buckle (overextend) your low back and heavily rely on your spine to maintain the position. (PS You may be doing it too if you find that you have to keep putting your hands under your butt when doing core work on your back.)

But learning how to stop doing that has been quite the process. It meant taking a break from plank and instead learning how to brace the natural curve of my lower back with my core — core control vs. core strength. It was humbling but so so worth it in the long run.

So for this week’s edition of Fave Things Friday, I’m sharing the movement progressions that got me using my core for what is was designed for and helped heal my lower back issues.

Honestly, the best place to start is with the Dead Bug since it’s a single-leg move which is critical to get down first. After you’ve progressed that (not sure it ever actually gets easy), it’s time to start working with two legs.

Here’s the plan of attack:

(1) Hollow Body Hold – build up to the full position then work up to 4 sets of 30-seconds holds (60 seconds rest between holds), the key here is in holding yourself accountable for doing the move correctly and not letting your low back arch
(2) Hollow Body Straight Arm Pulls (Propped) – prop your feet up (but keep your legs engaged and squeezing together with toes pointed) and include a straight arm pull down, build up to 4 sets of 10 (60 seconds rest between sets)
(3) Hollow Body Straight Arm Pulls – build up to 4 sets of 10 (60 seconds rest between sets)
Check out this video for a demonstration of each progression.
Give them a shot and remember it’s not how much you can do that matters, it’s how much you can do correctly.
For more lower back pain relief and prevention, check out this upcoming workshop with me or subscribe to Yoga for Durability to get unlimited yoga designed to help you develop functional strength and greater resilience.

One Response

  1. Hey Alison,
    Thanks for sharing such a great article
    I was looking for this information for a long time.
    You have great writing skills.
    Thank You

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