“Should I do planks to strengthen my core if I have a diastasis?”-a question I was asked during our “Restore Your Core” workshop this weekend. It depends. How well do you perform the plank? Is there abdominal doming and bulging? Are you able to maintain good alignment? The picture shown demonstrates 3 common errors when performing the plank : 1) Inability to maintain 3 points of contact with dowel 2) Anterior pelvic tilt and/or lumbar spine extension 3) Poor neck/thoracic spine organization.
The plank is supposed to be an anti-extension core stability exercise- meaning your core is resisting the force of gravity pulling your low back into an “arched” position. If your Back started to arch and you can no longer maintain good alignment, then the exercise is over in my opinion. This is also why I dislike “plank contests” in general. Who cares that you can hold a plank floor X minutes when you can’t really do it properly? You’re just training your body to have crummy movement patterns! I’d much rather see you do 15 second holds executed perfectly for 3 sets. By the way, this client doesn't have any children so, this applies to everyone, NOT just post-partum women!
Stay tuned for our next post on how to regress or scale the plank to be successful and effective for your core!