Lately I’ve been using the plank row exercise a lot! Not only do I use it in my own training, but I regularly prescribe it for my patients. I've achieved some pretty great results with it and today... I'm going to share it with you!
Core and Low Back Training Considerations
When training the core and low back it's important to challenge it in multiple planes of movement. And the truth is, lot of people forget to challenge their body in rotation.
Most people stick to front-to-back stressing exercises like planks, crunches, hollow rock etc.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s great. It’s just that we also need to build up some anti-rotation strength… like with the plank row.
Wait, what is "anti-rotation"?
Anti-rotation is when we challenge our body in rotation but don't actually rotate, we maintain our form. So, when you have a 3 point stance (1 arm and 2 legs) and your other arm rows with a weight, your body is having to maintain your form and not rotate… hence, “anti-rotation”.
Why Don't We Just Rotate, Why "Anti-Rotate"?
Some people can just go into a rotational based exercise and not have issues. Great... but I work with people with low back pain, we got issues in the tissues!
So, a lot of time it's beneficial to begin building a strong foundation with isometric exercises (isometric = contracting muscles but not moving them) as it can help avoid over stressing areas and provoking pain symptoms.
... there's a time and place for bigger movements. But right now, we're focusing on building that foundation!
Why The Plank Row?
A lot of times when people are first doing low back rehab, some of the exercises are limited to exercise bands and body weight movements. Those are great, but some can outgrow them quickly.
The plank row can be progressed and regressed to cover a wide range of fitness levels.
If you're starting out, try holding the kitchen counter and just lifting an arm. If you've been training for a while, grab a kettlebell and start rowing!
... just maintain your form!
How To Progress The Plank Row
You can simply make this exercise harder in a couple of ways. I will say though, I would always prefer to have someone do a lower intensity movement with great form rather than sloppy with heavy weight... nobody likes sloppy!
1) Add more weight (no further explanation required)
2) Narrow your base. You can narrow your foot placement so your body has to work harder at keeping you neutral.
The Plank Row Exercise
Finally, here is a video going over the plank row exercise. Enjoy and be sure to subscribe to the blog below!