It takes more than drool-worthy six-pack abs to have a strong and healthy core. The rectus abdominus, responsible for six-pack abs, only represents one of several muscles that comprise the core.
Functional Core Training
Functional fitness tells us that moving in more directions and recruiting more than one muscle group at a time mimics real life movement patterns and has positive implications for overall strength, health, power, agility and balance. Isometric training benefits us by requiring us to hold a position without joint movement but while activating muscles by bracing, and is a healthy way to strengthen muscles without compromising joints or exacerbating poor movement patterns.
Move in More Directions
So we cannot work our core predominantly in a bent forward position, (ie: crunches) and expect a strong and healthy core which includes the chest, back and sides of our body. Working all the core muscles and doing so in a variety of manners especially while recruiting multiple muscle groups is more advantages for posture, back health, stabilization, strength and body mechanics than doing so in isolation.
As our society is progressively being pulled forward with rounded shoulders and forward head posture from sitting and smart phones, neck and back pain is becoming an epidemic. Planks allow us to train in an erect spinal position, strengthening the core from all sides and accessing multiple muscles simultaneously! This type of bracing and strengthening of erect posture is essentially creating an internal scaffolding of support for the spine.
Performing planks in the water with use of a noodle for support, offers an advantage because the head cannot hang forward into the water and thus forces the muscles of the neck and upper back to engage. The challenge of doing planks in the buoyant environment has cross-training benefits of increased chest and shoulder strength and stability, as well as lower back, abdominal and oblique strength.
The buoyancy of the water is an advantage for participants without adequate strength to do planks on land, poses fewer risks and offers more opportunity for progression. With so many variations, there are basic to advanced options, that might otherwise be too difficult on land. Planks are a smart choice for the aging participant who needs balance training, upper body strengthening and core strength without the restrictions of gravity; the office worker who sits too much, the young adult who’s glued to their phone, and the weekend warrior with their athletic pursuits!
Wet Barre: Plank-A-Poolooza
Wet Barre: Plank-A-Poolooza, debuting at IAFC 2017, serves up isometric and dynamic planks, grounded and floating, double and single leg, front and side planks, as well as bilateral and unilateral limb options. The “Bird Dog Plank with Chest Fly,” “V-Tap Planks” and “Firefly Planks” are just a few of the exercises that draw inspiration from yoga, Pilates and acrobatics in this ‘beyond the basics’ exploration planks. Guaranteed, you will discover moves you’ve never seen before. And, you’ll come away with more than enough options to introduce a new exercise every 3-4 weeks for a year!
article previously published in Feb/March 2017 Akwa magazine
Katina Brock, MSEd, creator of Wet Barre™, draws inspiration from her background in ballet, Pilates, yoga, TRX and gymnastics. She is an international aquatic fitness presenter with over 25 years teaching experience. Katina believes working harder internally, not externally, is they key to progress.
Wet Barre™ Events
April 28-30th – Arlington Heights, Illinois. 4 Workshops: Wet Barre: Power, Wet Barre: Control, Wet Barre: Booty and a new (warm water) workshop, Wet Barre: Hot Toddy.
May 16-20 – IAFC 2017 Palm Harbor, Florida. Wet Barre: With a Twist will debut alongside Wet Barre: Plank-A-Palooza
Thanks for reading,