Recently the craze of holding a plank seems to have become a competition. There are even some that think holding a plank for 5 minutes or more is a proof of strength and can't wait to tell you. They think that holding the move longer is better. Recently as I think we have mentioned before there have been articles on injuries due to this craze, some taking place in Pilates classes. Why in a Pilates class they have people holding a plank is a whole other subject.
Holding a traditional plank for a long period isn't very functional in regard to your fitness, except ok yea, you can hold a plank for a long time. Other than that what do you have?
To really get a benift to the move you need to get it moving. think of it as moving it in different planes and not just keeping it static. In life are your movements static? We hope not! If you think about it the moment you get up you are rolling up, turning, bending and twisting. Your body is designed to allow freedom of movement.
Instead of having a planking contest you want to think of the full body with this exercise. You want your hips, arms or legs trying to stabilize and move the body. Your core is now working to help in this move as it does during your day. You will also now have the glutes, back and shoulders working in movement. This will prepare your body for better function during your day.
In your Pilates workout there are so many options to really take your work in Planking and get it working for you. For instance on the Reformer with the Long Stretch series we have clients who have thought by holding the plank they had no where to go as they had "mastered" it. They soon found out they were not ready of the Long stretch by holding a plank.
You can take it to the Wunda Chair and try to get that plank going with your feet on the pedal and now you have a whole new way of that body moving and working.
The light bulb moment of seeing clients realize what the body is really meant to do and how we need to move with strength and stability with our muscles is a wonderful thing to see. It is why we love our jobs!