One concept that is often missing in people dealing with sciatica pain is lack of core strength. This can be broken down into three major components: strength, stability, and coordination. What are the differences?
Core strength is the ability to generate movement. Hence do work, also known as force times distance. It is a muscular contraction in which a joint moves. Think of it like a crunch or a sit-up.
Core stability on the other hand is to resist movement. Not letting anything move. This is where planks come into play. A lot of clients we work with were given planks to “strengthen” their core, where in truth, they should have been focusing on stabilizing the core. The intention is everything. So how can we make this exercise more effective? The first step is proper set up and execution.
Here’s a video on how to complete a plank properly. I usually recommend 3 sets of 10-15 seconds, with a focus on a maximal contraction so you start to shake. That’s where the magic happens. But what if you can’t hold a plank because of your elbows or shoulders? You can brace.
But the big question is asking… “does a plank help with pain?”
It really depends. If you are in an active state of pain, planking will probably not help. Because it is a static position. Also, when in pain, your muscles may be weak as a result (to protect the joints) and poor execution of this can lead to more pain.
If you don’t really have pain at rest, but more with movement; then planks can be helpful. It gives you an opportunity to find your abs and stabilize your spine. This can be used as a way to prevent a further onset of pain. You want to be able to minimize extraneous movements when you are moving around. Planking can be an essential tool in the recovery process when implemented correctly.
Have you tried adding planks to your routine?
If you would like to learn more about how you can implement a strength training program into your day so that you can continue to feel great on a daily basis; as well as break free from the sciatica pain cycle, book a free strategy call here. We’ll come up with an actionable plan together.