How long can you hold a side plank?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

Moderator: Moderator Team

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

Despite having a pretty good range of flexibility, I’ve always have some lower back pain on the bike and so over the last year I’ve been working with an excellent PT/pilates teacher in an attempt to iron out a few wrinkles from the aging spine. Almost immediately she identified a lack of core functionality, particularly in the quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle which I’m led to believe is very important in stabilizing the pelvis. So to address this issue she has me doing elbow side planks and it’s been a bit of a journey to say the least…. My first attempt lasted all of 12 seconds but now I’ve built it up 1 minute x 3 sets although near the end it does all get a tad weebly wobbly!

Anyhow having done some research through Dr Google it would appear that the QL muscle is pretty important for cyclists, with some sources even going as far as saying it is the most important core muscle for stabilizing the pelvis whilst cycling. It definitely has helped me.

Comments welcome. But as it says in the title - how’s your elbow side plank? Hit the floor right now and give it a lash! For those who ain’t done it before here’s a quick video link showing the various iterations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2VljzCC16g
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

by Weenie


jeanjacques
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:01 am
Location: France

by jeanjacques

Lower back pain: almost every time related to an unstretched psoas muscle.

But to answer: 4'10", enough painful to don't want to try the left side...

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

Very good JJ, that's probably more than you'll ever need! And yes agree that tight psoas has a lot to answer for too.
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

Just thinking jeanjaques that 4’10” is very impressive indeed. Just to clarify – that’s a full elbow plank using elbow and feet (second version she shows in the video)? If so, chapeau dude!
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

User avatar
853guy
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 pm

by 853guy

As your Pilates instructor may have already cautioned, any static exercise should ultimately focus on form rather than duration. In fact, holding static poses for greater lengths of time reduces effectiveness and risks injury. I now do no more than two minutes for any plank.

One minute x three sets sounds like a good plan, especially if you’re alternating between side planks, front planks and bridges.

FWIW and YMMV, etc.

Best,

853guy

jeanjacques
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:01 am
Location: France

by jeanjacques

Exactly the second position "normal side plank" but with the upper hand on the hip. I don't do this exercice often but I'm the kind of guy with short crank, high cadence, who stay on the saddle for climbing, sprinting, etc, so need a good abdominal strength.

Totally agree with 853guy, duration is not a goal and not a training, it can be just an indication of your progress.

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

Of course the goal of any of these core type exercises is not simply the exercise itself but rather the benefits it can bring in terms of enhancing our ability to cycle in a more efficient and comfortable manner, thus enabling us to maximise our power output.

The side planks I mentioned above are only one facet of a structured regime, lasting usually around 35-40 minutes, that I try to perform a couple of times a week and it is something I have found beneficial both on and off the bike. Nonetheless jeanjacques, the duration of your side plank is a great indictment of your core functionality and so chapeau to you sir!
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

LionelB
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

liam7020 wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:12 pm

The side planks I mentioned above are only one facet of a structured regime, lasting usually around 35-40 minutes, that I try to perform a couple of times a week and it is something I have found beneficial both on and off the bike. Nonetheless jeanjacques, the duration of your side plank is a great indictment of your core functionality and so chapeau to you sir!
I would be interested to see what this looks like. Been meaning to start core training but always keep on delaying it. This year some back pain will force me into this but I am not quite sure where to start.

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

In no particular order, the exercises I do are side planks, front planks, back extensions (carefully!), superman, clams, psoas raises, lying shoulder bridge and lying knee rotations. Usually 3 sets of everything twice a week. Ta
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

LionelB
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:09 pm
Location: Aix en Provence

by LionelB

Thanks.

User avatar
853guy
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 pm

by 853guy

Rather than hold or repeat static poses (planks, bridges), decreasing effectiveness and increasing risk of injury - especially for those of us who have some form of acute/chronic pain, lack of mobility from joint inflexibility/dislocation/inflamation or muscle imbalances - I'll mix static poses with compound movement.

So for me, a simple quick session at home may involve 30 x 20kg Russian* kettlebell swings followed immediately with 30 seconds of front plank, then another 30 x 20kg Russian kettlebell swings followed immediately by 30 seconds of passive hanging, then another 30 x 20kg Russian kettlebell swings followed immediately by 30 seconds of side plank, etc...

This ensures I'm keeping my HR elevated from the kettlebell swings while working the posterior chain for glute activation, and not holding any one pose for too long while working on core stability, shoulder health and spine decompression. For me, these are the area that are most negatively affected from sitting at a Mac all day and unfortunately, while on a bike for any extended period.

As always, I am not a personal trainer, health professional or any one who should be taken any more seriously than the effort it took to type these words.

Best,

853guy

*Russian technique rather than American

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

Well, as you say, you're not a health care professional nor am I but the exercises I mentioned above were prescribed to me by one with 25 years experience of working with professional athletes and treating gunshot victims at one of the world's leading trauma centres. Thus far the regime has only served to increase my effectiveness and decrease my risk of injury. But I guess everybody has to find what works for them.
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

User avatar
853guy
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 pm

by 853guy

Hello liam,

I was not disputing the credentials of your physical therapist.

I am sharing my experience, since the title of your post contradicts the research by Stuart McGill, Professor Emeritus of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, (co)author of over 290 research papers (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stuart_Mcgill), focusing on the wrong metric (duration) for a static pose.

In his paper published in 2010 he recommends to “build endurance with repetitions (reps), not by increasing the duration of the holds. Near infrared spectroscopy of the muscles showed that this was the way to build endurance without the muscles cramping from oxygen starvation and acid buildup” (1); folloing his study published in 2000 in which the researchers assessed oxygenation during prolonged contractions (2).

Interestingly, his research suggests diminishing returns for a plank kick in at ten seconds, and says many of his patients/clients have back injuries caused by well-meaning personal trainers and clinicians who misunderstand biomechanics.

Given my personal journey with acute and chronic pain has involved many corrections over the years as both my body and knowledge have changed, though I began with two minute static poses when I took my first Pilates session fourteen years ago, I’ve adopted an approach that attempts to incorporate more of McGill’s research into my own sessions, lessening the duration of static poses, while incorporating whole body movements via kettlebells and active/passive hanging to aid in gains in stability/mobility, endurance, strength and pulse power production while promoting joint health.

His website is here: https://www.backfitpro.com

And while I would absolutely agree with you everyone needs to find what works for them, I would recommend anyone who suffers from lower back pain to consult the research, not just the recommendation of their trainer.

Best,

853guy


(1) https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fullt ... ter.4.aspx

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10801082

liam7020
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:04 am

by liam7020

853guy wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:15 pm
any one who should be taken any more seriously
I always smile when I see lads say or write “don’t take me too seriously” when I know fine well that they need to be taken seriously as if it were their very life blood itself!

I’m very familiar with Stuart’s Big 3 principles, using sets and reps prescribed by “the Russian masters”, as he refers to them, and have used this strategy in the past. Indeed I would still deploy his thoughts in exercises such as the clam, superman (or the birddog as McGill calls it) and shoulder bridge.

Your last post is interesting in that it reveals a history of chronic low back pain coupled with what is obviously a high achieving, perhaps even intense, personality. Have you read the work of Dr John Sarno? Give it a go, you may very well see yourself in there.
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

User avatar
853guy
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 pm

by 853guy

liam7020 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:54 am
I always smile when I see lads say or write “don’t take me too seriously” when I know fine well that they need to be taken seriously as if it were their very life blood itself!

I’m very familiar with Stuart’s Big 3 principles, using sets and reps prescribed by “the Russian masters”, as he refers to them, and have used this strategy in the past. Indeed I would still deploy his thoughts in exercises such as the clam, superman (or the birddog as McGill calls it) and shoulder bridge.

Your last post is interesting in that it reveals a history of chronic low back pain coupled with what is obviously a high achieving, perhaps even intense, personality. Have you read the work of Dr John Sarno? Give it a go, you may very well see yourself in there.
1) Nowhere have I said I suffer, or have ever suffered from chronic low back pain.

2) I’ve found McGill to be a valuable resource. His approach is perhaps a case in which what provides demonstrable real-world benefits is considered acceptable to the medical profession at large.

3) I’ve found Sarno’s The Divided Mind to be a valuable resource. His approach is perhaps a case in which what provides demonstrable real-world benefits is considered unacceptable to the medical profession at large.

4) Where possible I try and avoid conflating the value of the message with the perception of the messenger. Either my posts contain ideas and principles of merit or they do not, and should be evaluated in-and-of-themselves. I have no interest in being taken seriously, since how one is perceived by others has no bearing on whether an idea or principle has merit.

5) I do however, have an interest that those who suffer from pain are aware a suggestion to “hit the floor right now and give it a lash” understand that while indeed the action itself may prove beneficial, it may potentially prove detrimental, especially in cases in which the focus is on duration rather than form.

6) If you have an interest in continuing to discuss any of the principles and ideas related to the work of McGill, Sarno, or indeed, that of practitioners/sports medicine specialists such as John M. Kirsch Ph. D, Mark Baker, Michael Sagner MD, Ido Portal, Howard Luks MD, Pavel Tsatsouline, Erwan Le Corre, et al., I’ll be happy to participate where I can.

7) Given we’ve now strayed from discussing principles and ideas and have moved on to the practice of pathologizing personalities of individuals, I’ll just say playing psychoanalyst on the internet in attempting to guess the motives, character and psychological profile of others is of no interest to me, and I would posit, is perhaps likely to add little to this thread’s utility value, and potentially, may significantly reduce it.

Best,

853guy

by Weenie


Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post