Strength Testing with Planks

assessment Feb 15, 2018

The Single Leg Plank is an intermediate core exercise which is a progression from the basic plank. By having a single leg in the air we lose a point of contact with the ground which increases instability and makes the drill 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 so that we can see 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).

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