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Plank as an Adominal test

 
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Plank as an Adominal test - March 23, 2006 7:31:00 PM   
gomez2

 

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Has anyone seen any research on the Plank exercise being used as an abdominal test? Crunches have been removed as a test for firefighters in Canada due to McGill's research on intravertebral pressures.
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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 23, 2006 10:03:00 PM   
anoopbal

 

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I think in Mcgill's book he refers to three tests for assesing your abs and low back muscle strength. If I remember it right, he tests abs using a static hold in a crunch position ( upper body inclined) and for the obliques he uses a side plank.

I think plank would much more better and safer than the usual sit up marathon.Also quite tough to cheat in this test.

Anoop

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 23, 2006 10:43:00 PM   
jma

 

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McGee's book mentions the dynamic abdominal endurance test as the only abdominal test. Heard of the plank, which is one of the most intense endurance exercises out there but no specific research on it, unless it is named differently

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 24, 2006 11:36:00 AM   
JLS_PT_OCS

 

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The plank is good, but I find somepeople get fatigued in their latissimus and serratus, and that seems to be the limiting factor, not the core muscles.
I have a modified plank version for these people that involves lying on flat adducted shoulder, placing stacked ankles on a rolled towel, and lifting greater troch off the surface.
That seems subjectively to work the erector spinae and QL more than the abdominals.

McGee also cites the Beiring-Sorenson test position as useful, and I agree.

J

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 24, 2006 12:34:00 PM   
certMDT

 

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Jason -

How does one balance when the hips are raised? Most people have a hard enough time with full forearm support and a level surface for their feet. I imagine adding a somewhat labile surface (the towel roll) and making them rise up on the shoulder would challenge balance and proprioception just as much as trunk strength.

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Charles Sheets PT OCS Dip MDT

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 24, 2006 1:00:00 PM   
JLS_PT_OCS

 

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Charlie-
It's easy, their lateral humerus is in contact with the surface. They only raise their hips a few inches or so up. So they don't support with their ulna, but rather their whole body is sidelying with contact from deltoid to greater troch, and the towel roll is only a few iches high. I could email you the handout if you want....

J

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 24, 2006 7:04:00 PM   
Synergy

 

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Jason,

I'll take one please! :)

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Chris Adams, PT, MPT

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 25, 2006 11:06:00 AM   
srcase

 

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Jason,
Do you mean a side plank off the shoulder instead of the elbow?
Sarah

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 25, 2006 12:46:00 PM   
gomez2

 

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SO WHAT IS THE CONSENSUS OF THE FACE DOWN PLANK AS A TEST? WITH CRUNCHES OR THE 45 DEG HOLD, HIP FLEXORS CAN BE A LIMITING FACTOR AS WELL JASON

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 28, 2006 3:46:00 AM   
Randy Dixon

 

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As an abdominal test or a test period? As an abdominal test it isn't nearly specific enough, as a general test of core stability I like it.

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 28, 2006 12:11:00 PM   
JLS_PT_OCS

 

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John Duffy's site has most of my stuff, from exercise handouts to full text articles. Not sure if he's posted them. PT Update members can get the handout for free.

Sarah- Yes.

Gomez- Agreed about hip flexors. I don't find the trunk flexion test useful in clinical practice. For more consensus and conflicting information on the "face down plank" - search for Beiring-Sorenson or Sorenson test and back pain on PubMed. Conflicting evidence but some support for increased endurance being helpful. I use it occasionally for some of my low back folks who are in a stabilization or graded exercise treatment category.

J

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 28, 2006 9:02:00 PM   
gomez2

 

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The International Fire Fighters Assoc. is looking for a test. The Calgary boys have alot of research and go with Sorrenson for the 45 deg hold. They like my idea of the plank test but want research to support it. Problem is there isn't.

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 29, 2006 11:42:00 AM   
JLS_PT_OCS

 

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What sort of data do they require?

If they want to see data that shows that people with low back pain who are treated with lumbar endurance exercise demonstrate improvement and decreases in pain, then certainly you can provide that if you know how to use PubMed and use the terms I described.
But as I said, it isn't that simple, there is conflicting evidence. Anyone looking for a "magic bullet" for low back pain (as Tony DeLitto PhD PT says) are bound to be disappointed.
J

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jasonsilvernail@gmail.com

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 29, 2006 11:53:00 AM   
gomez2

 

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I totally agree. If they are concerned with intravert. pressures created by crunches then a static test makes all the sense in the world. My idea would be to use it as a screen and then put poor scorers on a functional training regime to address the issue and decrease LB injuries whicha are #1 in the fire service.

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 30, 2006 4:48:00 AM   
Randy Dixon

 

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Jason,

The published data is on the Sorenson test, back extension, right? Not on the plank? That seems to be the problem gomez is having. I think that if you read the lit. on Sorenson, and cervical neck flexors, and stabilization that it becomes clear that endurance of postural muscles is a component of injury prevention, but I don't think that that would be sufficient to justify a test on it's own without it being specifically validated.

That might be a nice little paper, maybe start with something simple like correlating Sorenson performance and plank performance.

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Re: Plank as an Adominal test - March 30, 2006 7:07:00 AM   
JLS_PT_OCS

 

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I was referring both to the Sorenson position and the "side plank" or "lateral lean" position.
The research is out there, albeit not much and as we said, conflicting.

I agree with your assessment, Randy, we can't build an entire treatment around it, but it is useful in some subgroups, that's for sure.

I'll try to post the references later.
J

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Jason Silvernail DPT
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jasonsilvernail@gmail.com

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RE: Plank as an Adominal test - October 28, 2007 4:58:02 AM   
gomez2

 

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Latest on this: The International Assoc. of Firefighters has adopted the plank as an annual fitness test (I can list the other tests for discussion). They had new recruits in LA Co. and Calgary Fire as test groups and came up with an "up to 4 minute plank test" with 2 min being average. Now the issue is hypertension due to the isometric contraction needed to hold the position.

Any thoughts? I think the next step is to do a study with an invasive BP monitor.

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