Strength Testing with Planks

assessment Feb 15, 2018

Why Is Core Strength Important?

Core strength has long been associated as an important capacity for athletes and the general population to improve performance, improve posture and potentially reduce the risk of injuries. 

Having a strong core has been implicated in improving the stability of the trunk connecting the lower and upper half of the body. This may also improve balance and control as well as minimizing falls risk.

How To Assess Core Strength?

The Single-Leg Plank is an intermediate core exercise that is a progression from the basic plank. By having a single leg in the air the client loses a point of contact with the ground which reduced stability and makes the test more challenging.

The ability to recruit our core muscles is really important with multiple research papers showing that evidence exists that “core muscle recruitment alterations in low back pain (LBP) patients compared with healthy controls” (Bliven.K and Anderson. B, 2013). Along with improving outcomes for patients with back pain, research has also shown that  “preexisting core deficiency may increase the risk of lower extremity injury” (Wilson. J, Dougherty. C, Ireland. M and Davis. I, 2015).

This test is important to perform in a clinical setting because it can demonstrate (with minimal equipment) to us as clinicians how well someone’s trunk musculature is working. Doing this test as an assessment aids in the following:

  • Setting baselines to measure the effectiveness of an intervention program (usually a strength/endurance program).
  • Assessing trunk endurance - because decreased trunk endurance has been shown as a risk factor for individuals with lower back pain (Wilson et al, 2015).

Highlights from the 2 studies mentioned above include:

  • “core muscle function has been reported to influence structures from the low back to the ankle”  (Wilson et al, 2015).
  • “appropriate intervention for individuals with diminished core stability measures may more fully prepare these individuals for work or athletics” (Wilson et al, 2015).
  • “alterations in muscle recruitment, suggesting that deficiencies in core stabilization and load transfer muscles may be related to lower extremity function and injury” (Bliven et al, 2013).

Are you using Single Leg Plank Tests with your patients and clients?

Join the thousands of therapists and trainers worldwide who have stopped guessing and started measuring their patients and clients using objective strength testing and the MAT.

Sign up for our MAT Course today to learn how to use Single Leg Plank Testing alongside 50+ other objective assessments.

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