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ONE MORE | THE PLANK | by Orjan Pettersen

ONE MORE is our precise advice on improving a specific physical exercise aimed at improving your power, speed and agility to become the best self defence practitioner you can be.

In this session we cover: The Plank.

The plank is one of the most common core (abs and lower back) exercises - and the easiest one to do, anywhere, anytime. You require no extra equipment and no space beyond being able to lie flat on the floor.

It’s an isometric (static concentration of the muscle without movement) exercise working your abdominal and lower back muscles, but also your shoulders and upper back, as well as the glutes and hamstrings.

As an isometric exercise, you’ll also be training your psychological resilience to pain during your training, an important aspect for self defence practitioners.

Although the plank is actually competed in as an isometric duration (the world record is around 10 hours), there’s no need to do this exercise for a long time to get a benefit.

You can do the plank often (several times per week). Build your duration up from 15-30 seconds if you’re new to abdominal exercises to 1-2 minutes if you’re already exercising.

Core strength is essential in most athletic activity, including self defence or martial arts, as well as in daily life and to keep a good posture. The plank is an excellent exercise to achieve this.

How to do the plank:

Face downwards and outstretched on the floor with only your toes and forearms touching the floor, with feet 10-20cm apart.

Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and your body (including your head) straight and rigid.

Engage your core by drawing your navel towards the spine.

Do not sag or bend your core during the plank and keep your shoulders down and not creeping up towards your ears.

Release when time is up. Increase time as you progress.

To make the plank even more challenging, place a suitable weight (such as a barbell plate) on your lower back or simply extend your hands in front of you, the further they go, the more you feel the impact of the exercise.

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