While scanning through Facebook and watching a video compilation of people escaping near death experiences, I came upon the “Long Lever Plank with Posterior Tilt” a couple months back on Bret Contreras’ page. This is a variation of the plank and even further the long lever plank. The long lever is with the arms overhead, and the posterior tilt is basically when you rotate your pelvis underneath you so the front of the waist band is higher than the back (or even if your pelvis is tilting the opposite way).
This planked smoked my front abs, and was sufficiently sore from the new movement. I started adding it into some of my clients’ routines as a progression from the front plank or a regression from the ab wheel rollout, and had some pretty awesome results in terms of low back health and the amount of core activation they felt. No research came out on whether this plank was actually superior to the regular plank until this month in the Journal of Sports Biomechanics – An electromyographic comparison of a modified version of the plank with a long lever and posterior tilt versus the traditional plank exercise. It was pretty impressive: they found that the long lever posterior tilt plank had greater EMG [muscle] activation than the standard plank. So, how is this move done?
The best way to do this exercise is to first allow your body to find what a posterior tilt feels like. Assume the tall kneeling position, and put one hand on the front of your waist band and the other hand on your back waistband. Using your pelvis (and not your hands), pull your back hand to the heels and your front hand to your belly button like below:
Once you understand this position, all you have to do is assume the plank position on your forearms and toes, and move your forearms over your head while keeping the rest of your body in the same exact orientation.
Use the long lever plank at the end of your strength training routine for 2 sets of 60 seconds. If you cannot do all 60 seconds, build up each week 10 seconds until you can get there. This will wreck your front abs worse than Crossfit games wrecked FIU’s basketball court last weekend.
The researchers took 19 recreationally trained adults and put them into 3 groups: traditional front plank, long lever plank, or long lever plank with posterior tilt. EMG activity was measured in the rectus abdominis (front abs) both lower and upper, as well as the external obliques. There was a significantly higher activation in the core in the long lever posterior tilt plank. Again, you can check out the research HERE.