Jock Yoga Tutorial: Functional Planking

Above: Michael DeCorte demonstrates a high plank (Photo credits: Glenn Gebhardt)
Above: Michael DeCorte demonstrates a high plank (Photo credits: Glenn Gebhardt)

Every Jock Yoga class contains a core-strengthening component. Generally, our Jock Yoga core work sticks to isometric (static) contractions of the muscles. This means we don’t do a lot of crunches, as we don’t want to over-develop the core area and create a further lack of rotation and movement.  While I believe that a long-held plank can be great for building endurance and fortifying mind over matter, studies have shown that the most effective way to condition the core through planking involves turning the muscles on and off. This means that our planks will have variations (to target balancing and muscular connections) and will be held for shorter periods of time with momentary rests on the floor. (Momentary rests mean just for a quick pause to ‘shut the muscles off’ briefly)

1: High Plank

Jock Yoga: High Plank

Plank indicates that the body (back) is straight as a board. Begin in a high push-up position with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Tailbone presses forward, legs and arms are firm and straight. No sagging in the core , and now swaying in the low back. Hold for 10 long slow breaths through the nose, then lower all the way onto the floor.

2: One-armed High Plank

Jock Yoga: One-armed High Plank

After a brief moment on the floor, come back to a high plank, this time separating the feet wider than the mat. Again the back stays flat and the hips stay even and square to the mat. Keeping everything the same, extend the left arm out to the left and maintain your square hips—continually rolling your left hip toward the floor. Hold for 10 long slow breaths through the nose, then place the hand down and lower onto your belly.  After a brief moment on the floor, make your way back up to a high plank with wide feet and repeat with right arm extended out.

3: One-armed High Plank with Trunk Rotation

Jock Yoga: One-armed High Plank with Trunk Rotation

Set up the same high plank with wide legs, and extend the left arm out to the left. Reach the left arm up, and twist the chest open to the left side. Then rotating back through centre, scoop the left arm under the body while twisting to the right. Repeat this action 10 times—moving with your breath. After finishing the left side, rest for a moment on the floor then repeat on the right side.

4: Forearm Plank

Jock Yoga: Forearm Plank

Come to your forearms, fingers interlaced and knees off of the floor. Feet can begin hip-width. Tailbone presses forward; lower belly is scooped in and up. Hold forearm plank for 10 long breaths through the nose, and do not let the belly sag or the low back sway. Come down onto the floor for a quick momentary rest.

5: One-armed Forearm Plank

Jock Yoga: One-armed Forearm Plank

Come back into a forearm plank and make sure your feet are wider than your hips this time. Have your forearms parallel to the front edge of your mat. Maintain square hips and a flat back. Reach your left arm out to the left while keeping your hips square (rolling your outer left hip forward toward the floor). Hold this for five long breaths, then switch sides for five more. When you have completed both sides, come down onto the floor for a quick rest.

6: Forearm Plank with Twist/Hip rotation

Jock Yoga: Forearm Plank with Twist/Hip rotation

Come into the same forearm plank you began with, this time stepping the feet together. Keeping the fingers interlaced and both forearms on the mat, roll to the outer edge of the right foot, and try to roll the right hip under the left. Hips stay off the mat. You will feel this transfer a lot of work into the side core muscles (obliques). Hold for five slow breaths through the nose, and then roll through centre and to the outer edge of the left foot for another five breaths. When you have finished, roll through centre and come to rest on the floor.

For more information on Jock Yoga and Jock Yoga’s next Jock Yoga University 40 Hour certification visit: www.jockyoga.com

Michael DeCorte

Michael DeCorte

Michael DeCorte is the creator of Jock Yoga, and a media fitness expert-both locally and nationally. A former body-builder and marathon runner turned yoga teacher, Michael is also a passionate health and fitness writer and international fitness tradeshow presenter. Michael can be found at www.jockyoga.com and on Twitter @JockYogaGuy.

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