There always comes a time when the front plank becomes too easy. Instead of holding it for minutes at a time, the body saw is the next variation to progress to. In essence, there really is no difference between the front plank and body saw besides adding a small dynamic movement component which increases the difficulty. All the muscles targeted are the same as well, such as: rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and internal & external oblique. Another great selling point for the body saw is the range of motion created at the great toe. This is usually a joint that is often overlooked and should have 70 degrees of extension. Realize that during push-off of gait and running, the great toe is the last part of the body in contact with the ground. When this joint lacks adequate range of motion it causes compensation. Here is the body saw which improves core stability and great toe mobility.
Steps to properly execute the exercise:
- Hold the body in a plank position (weight on the forearms and toes, spine neutral)
- Keep the whole body parallel to the ground with no drop/raise in the hips
- Use the shoulders and feet to create a small movement forward and backward
- Slowly maintain this movement for the desired time without altering body position
A common mistake is moving too far forward and backward. Once you do this it will cause the hip position to change unfavorably and alter core stability. You could also feel stretching through the calf and foot if you have limited mobility.
Garrett McLaughlin is an athletic trainer, personal trainer, and certified active release techniques provider. He is passionate about creating safe, and effective fitness and rehabilitation programs for the general population and athletes. ‘Like‘ Garrett’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date on related health, fitness, and nutrition information.