How to Do a Modified Plank for Lower Back Pain (Stabilize Your Core)

Work Your Core!

The plank is an excellent exercise to strengthen your core, improve stability of your spine, and decrease back pain. Unfortunately, many individuals who are dealing with back pain, especially in their lower back, have trouble doing this exercise without pain. This article, in addition to the video above, will briefly detail exactly how you can modify a plank with lower back pain. The video linked above will give a demonstration of myself working with one of my clients, to show you a real life application of the exercise!

How to Do a Modified Plank

When I am doing a modified plank with my clients, I often lean towards doing an incline version of a plank. This, simply being, means that I will have them lean on a flight of stairs, a table, couch, or something sturdy that is raised. Essentially, we are doing a plank with their hands up higher. Why is this easier? When we do a plank this way, there is less gravity pushing down on your core muscles. Because of this, many individuals with back pain, limited core strength, or mobility, find this version fitting. Start on a flight of stairs, or even a wall, slowly lean forward onto the object, and keep nice and straight through your spine. This will allow you to build strength in your core muscles, which usually allow individuals to decrease pain in their lower back over time. Check out the video above for extra help.

Key Points

Body Alignment

As noted in the video above, I continually try to remind any individuals I am working with to “keep their body straight” or “keep a straight line.” Doing this ensures that your core is actually being worked properly in this movement. If you instead, let your butt sag low OR bring your butt up too high, this won’t work your core muscles properly.

Keeping Tight

Another great way to get the most out of this exercise is to make sure you are keeping total body tightness. This, simply being, means tightening every single muscle when you do this exercise. This ensures there won’t be any energy leaks through the rest of your body, getting the most core activation.

Making it Harder

Over time, ideally, you would try to make this exercise harder, by lowering your hands onto a lower surface, or even the ground. Of course this should be done slowly over time, ideally a month or two after getting strong at the initial modified plank variation. If you do start having lower back pain again, try to go back up in the regression, raising your hands back up to a higher object. This will make it easier and for most individuals, allow them to get back to a manageable level of pain.

There’s More!

If you want to continue to improve your health and knowledge of the gym, regardless of your current abilities in life, you need to subscribe to our blog. If that isn’t in the cards today, feel free to check out this other article I created below, showing you a few great ways to do lunges if you have poor mobility and strength.

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