Core Challenge Week 4

After I posted about the Weekly Core Challenge, I started doing the series on a weekly basis, normally on Tuesdays since I am not in the Fitness Center.  Two things have come up for me doing this series:

1) Last week, I did a WOD on Tuesday and the Weekly Core Challenge on Wednesday. As I was going through the core challenge in one of the 1 minute Plank phases a colleague stopped me and said, “Hey, can you see yourself in the mirror there?” I looked but the mirror is blocked by several cardio machines.

“No,” I replied coming down from the position and rocking back on my heels. “What’s going on?”

“It’s your plank form,” he said, rubbing his chin. “Did you know you drop your left hip, and your spine is rotated?”

“Really?” In my years of doing planks no one has ever corrected me. I wondered if this was caused by some acquired functional deficiency or if I had always done it this way or if this was related to one of my many wiping-out-on-my-bike injuries. “Can you spot me while I try this again?” I asked.

I moved into the plank position again and felt like I had to engage several muscles on the right side of my body that, once engaged, were obviously deconditioned.

2) I am doing some research for a client about the shoulder and discovered some material about the scapular stabilizers. How does this relate to the core challenge? Today while I was doing the side-plank portion with a straight arm like in yoga, that I might be short-changing my obliques and relying on my shoulder. I’ll be doing these on the elbow going forward. Additionally, I feel like I’m rather unstable in the shoulder when I do side plank with a straight arm.

Side Plank with a straight arm (also not me)

What both of these illustrate is that there is some instability that is causing bad form and also pain. (Remember how important form is!) Also, thanks to my colleague for pointing out my plank form.  Sometimes it helps to work out with a buddy!


  1. You are right! It is great to have someone observe and point out form. My personal trainer had me do minor things while I was in plank and I really felt the difference. Also in my Pilates reformer class, I found out my shoulders do a lot of work when they aren’t supposed to.

  2. Hey Kwarren! Thanks for the reply! I think a lot of people use shoulders/low back/arms/legs to compensate for a weak core. Sometimes, people may think they are using their core when they really aren’t. Glad your trainer pointed those things out for you!

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