Planks are overrated.
Why this matters:
The plank hold is a common exercise to promote core stability and is often programmed in sciatica pain relief programs. However, stability is only one piece of the puzzle of optimal core function. Not only do we need to resist motion (stability), but we also need to have the ability to facilitate movement (strength), and ability to coordinate movement.
So focusing only on planks as a pain relieving exercise leaves two thirds of core function out of the picture. The good news is that unless you are unable to hold yourself up when standing, you’ll most likely have sufficient core strength.
The last piece is then, core coordination. You need to have all of your core muscles working at the right time so that you can move at your hips. As a result, there’s less sheer force at the back allowing your spine and nerves to heal.
Action steps:The partial Turkish getup solves the last remaining piece of the puzzle. The goal is to move with control and ensure that you’re lifting your head, and your leg is being relaxed. The core is doing all of the work. I recommend three sets of five repetitions per side. Notice the difference between the left and right.