The Plank is often thought to be a core exercise. However, I'm here to tell you that there are other unforeseen benefits of the plank that you may not have considered before.
First we need to talk about what a good plank looks like. A good plank will show a nice straight line from your head to your tailbone. This line should be parallel with the floor. You should be actively reaching through both elbows pushing your chest away from the ground. Hold this position as you take a breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you breathe in through the nose your should feel your upper back expand. When you exhale, you should feel your abs turn on.
When performed in this fashion, here are some added benefits and applications you may have never considered before.
Shoulder - Reaching through your arms (elbows in this case) stimulates the serratus anterior which is needed for shoulder health. Reaching + Breathing creates an optimal relationship between the scapula and rib cage. All the while your rotator cuff muscle are firing in an isometric fashion.
Shoulder Rehab - this is an excellent way to start introducing closed chain activity for the upper extremity at a lower level to work scapula thoracic relationship.
Youth Sports Training - Obviously its a good exercise to gain core control, we know that. But many youth athletes struggle mightily with a pushup. 1) Due to lack of core strength/endurance to maintain a neutral spine position. 2) Lack of shoulder strength/stability. Performing a plank correctly can stimulate both of these components as you simultaneously work relative strength with a dumbell floor press.