Plank Tips for Hypermobility
by Caitlin Mari Oliveros PTRP, PT, PF-1, BSPTS -1
Who this article is for:
- People who are diagnosed with hypermobility/EDS/hEDS or have hypermobile tendencies and want to learn how to move & strengthen safely
- People who want to learn how to modify the plank exercise according to their body’s needs
- Physical therapists, healthcare professionals, or anyone interested in learning about hypermobility!
For almost every person, the key to every movement is the core, a group of muscles that include those in the abdominal and back areas. They are important in: controlling the quality & stabilization of movements; balancing internal pressure; protection of the internal organs; and more!
The list above can apply to most people, but for hypermobile individuals, it may be difficult to sense these functions when the core takes a back seat. However, core activation can actually play a greater role for these people when it is properly activated by:
- Reducing risk of injury and/or pain
- Improving coordination, such as with movements involving alternating limbs
- Finding stability through correct muscle engagement (rather than locking joints)
There are various other benefits that apply specifically to the hypermobile population, and this is also not to say that the core is the only area that needs extra care to achieve these benefits, but it is a great place to start!
The plank is one of the most iconic exercises to improve awareness and strength in this area. It may be daunting to attempt this workout, but we have curated a short list of tips to help those with hypermobility to perform this exercise easily! Watch this reel made by our physiotherapist Caitlin to see these tips in motion!
Tip #1: Reconfigure the plank position
The plank is typically done with palms on the floor, elbows extended, and the rest of the body elevated off the floor. However, did you know that changing your position may actually allow you to perform the activity safer and with less discomfort? Try out these plank modifications instead!
* Plank position in standing, with palms against the wall
* Planking on knees and hands
* Planking on knees, with forearms elevated on a box
Tip #2: Bring energy through your stabilizing points
Your stabilizing points are whatever body parts (eg., palms, knees, balls of the feet, etc.) are in contact with a surface. Instead of allowing your weight to sink into these areas, bring energy through these areas to lift you up. For example, instead of feeling all the pressure on your wrists, let your palms and finger tips push against the floor to support your weight too. Don’t forget to use your core to further pull everything up into place!
Tip #3: Ensure good form
Take a video of yourself in the plank and observe your form. If you find that overall posture deviates from what you are trying to achieve, zone in on the areas that need correction. Are your hips sinking down to the floor? Are your shoulders shrugging? Is your trunk rotating as you hold the position?
With anything in life, small achievements will lead to bigger ones. Practice getting comfortable in a simple plank position and build up from there. Whether it is modifying to a more challenging position or increasing the time you hold the plank— prioritize quality and control of your form and then you will be able to see changes as time goes on.
If you found these tips helpful, guess what? We currently offer a whole course to practicing guided movement for individuals with hypermobility/EDS! We cover the whole anatomy from head to toe AND teach you how to move through each region safely and mindfully!
If you are interested in our 10 Week Mindful Movement Workshop for Hypermobility, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information. If you have been yearning to find freedom in movement, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for!
You can read more about this workshop and sign up here!