Improving lateral chain strength is always a priority when training or rehabbing athletes. Improving anti-rotation stability is particularly important for injury prevention and dissipation of forces in the transverse plane. This exercise builds on the isometric stabilization of a traditional side plank by introducing a long lever stimulus using a kettlebell.
Execution: Begin in a side plank position with the left elbow beneath the left shoulder and the legs straight in line with the body (feet stacked on top of one another). Grasp a kettlebell in the right hand positioning it so that it is in a bottoms up position. Next, full extend the right arm sot he kettlebell is pointing toward the ceiling.
Now, lift up and hold the plank while maintaining neutral alignment of the spine and preventing forward/backward rotation of the torso. Focus on keeping the body and top arm still throughout. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Perform 2-3 sets.
1. Decrease the hold time as needed to maintain form and alignment
2. Allow the kettlebell to rest against the right dorsal wrist/forearm
3. Stack the top foot in front of the other foot as opposed to stacking them on top of one another to increase stability
4. Bend the knees to 90 degrees to reduce the body’s lever arm
1. Increase the weight of the kettlebell and/or increase hold time
2. Lift the top leg away from the down leg
3. Add light perturbations to the top arm during the exercise to disrupt balance and challenge stability
4. Perform the exercise with the down arm fully extended
Application: This exercise is is an excellent way to advance a traditional side plank exercise to increase lateral chain and pillar strength. In addition, it will enhance shoulder stability and facilitate kinetic chain neuromuscular control and anti-rotational stability. Emphasis should always be placed on maintaining alignment. Do not progress the load too quickly, and be cautious if using the fully extended down arm position if clients have a history of shoulder instability or active shoulder pathology as this places more stress on the glenohumeral joint.