The plank (and all of the variatons of the plank position) is only one (and a very basic one) of the many stability system exercises. It is a good entry exercise and a good way to find out the status of the clients spinal stabiity. But I do not have clients do the simple plank after they have demonstrated the ablity to hold it properly for more than 30 seconds. I never have clients perform the side plank in the straight arm position. This places extremely high stress on the wrist for very little improvement in their spinal stability or their fitness. I do use the plank positons in the performance of main other exercises, but (except for push ups) always in the forearm support.
Although the plank position has been given a great deal of attention lately, there are so many other (and more applicable to actual daily activities) exercises and ways to use equipment for training the staility muscles of the spine (which really includes the entire body/kinetic chain). I teach clients to activate the stabiity muscles consciously.
Have any of you learned how to perform the “bow” (as in bow and arrow) and some of the progressions of the bow. This is so much more effective in helping clients get connected to the stabiity muscles. I will reply to anyone interested in learning this exercise or the core/stability activation exercise for free. Go to my webiste and use the email address on the site, www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com . I am sending you to my website to promote all of the things that I do. Check out the “Continuing Education” page.