On Monday, I wrote about why the core should be trained for stability and to resist movement, opposed to cause it. One of the most fundamental core stability exercises is the front plank.
The front plank is such a simple exercise that I think its merit is often overlooked. In my opinion, planking is essential to any core stability program. Beginners should use this as one of their main exercises; advanced athletes should still include a set or two as part of their warm-up. There are more than enough variations to keep athletes progressing through this.
Coach your athletes to brace their stomachs as if someone was going to kick them…and then kick them. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s the only way they’ll learn. If your an athlete and you don’t train in a team setting, I’m sure you can find someone at the gym that will be willing to help you out here. It is also important to keep the hips level with the shoulders and the eyes looking straight down. Three sets of 15 second holds is a great place to start with this exercise. Progress to holding for 30 seconds, and then begin to add an external load or lift one leg up. This can also be done on the ice, which steps up the intensity a bit as the players have to stabilize against the added weight of the equipment and keep their feet or forearms from slipping.
Till next time…
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.