Stegosaurus shoulders. What the hell does that have to do with PLANKS!?!?!?!?!? Well, its a term that I use when your shoulders start to “stick out” when doing planks. This is mainly due to your shoulders fatiguing and the body starts sinking.
Let’s breakdown the positioning of the plank. First, elbows should be underneath the shoulders. I prefer the hands NOT touching each other because that usually results in people rounding the shoulders, which makes you tense up the neck area. I know it feels natural to clasp your hands together like a prayer, but just keep in mind to lower your shoulders if you do. Head should be looking straight down, so you don’t have any unnecessary pressure.
Secondly, the hip angle. This is hard to see. A lot of times when I have clients do a plank, their hips are “off” and I usually have to tilt them back to normal so the hips are parallel. Say if you position a tennis ball on the small of your back and if your hips are off, then the ball would drop to the side. Those people that have hip/back problems usually have a tilt when they plank. So knowing where your hips are in space would be the key to having the position down.
Thirdly, BREATHE. I cannot stress this enough of how much people forget to do this. Purple faces, red ears, blood shot eyes, you name it. I’ve seen it and its usually due to people holding their breathe. Last time I checked we NEED oxygen. So, BREATHE ladies and gentlemen.
Lastly, is the shoulders (hence the reason for this week’s blog). As you get tired, it gets harder to press through your elbows and forearms. Your body starts to get closer to the ground, but you’re still keeping your hips up. I get it that you’re fighting the urge to come down. However, the problem is you’re most likely maintaining stegosaurus shoulders. The way I can tell is when I can take my hand and if I am able to “scoop” my hand in between your shoulder blade, then that is stegosaurus shoulders. This is bad because you’re essentially using upper traps to maintain position and people are already strong in this area due to overuse.
So take a good look at the above picture. Make a mental note. DO NOT look like this when you’re doing planks. You’ll be surprised how common stegosaurus shoulder is.
Hope you liked this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed…………………..Kei
Here is a tutorial of how to execute a plank. The right way and the wrong way. Educate and replicate, ladies and gentlemen: