The Chinese Plank: do this exercise for strength, posture, and spinal health.
Pictured is the face-up chinese plank, but it can also be done face-down.
People often perform standard planks and core exercises that focus on preventing extension of the spine (anti-extension), but very few do another equally important variation: the Chinese plank for anti-flexion.
This version has many benefits and we like incorporating them in different ways. Sometimes as part of a warm up, as a superset with a lower body exercise, and both.
Building strength and support in this position will help posture, alignment, and bring your body back to center. In a traditional plank, the anterior part of the body (front) is working to maintain proper form. With the Chinese plank, your whole posterior chain (back) from your shoulders down through your feet will be activated.
Our favorite pairing to get the hamstrings and glutes fired up is the Chinese plank to Romanian deadlift. BOOM! You just went from East Asia to Southeastern Europe.
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Incorporate the Chinese Plank into your routine:
Everyone can benefit from incorporating Chinese planks into their routine. Complete at least 3 rounds of 45-60 seconds twice per week. You can add a march as seen in the video, but try to maintain hip height throughout the movement. Aim to keep your body as straight as possible.
Chinese Plank Variations:
Here are some variations to try if you want to further challenge your posterior chain strength and stability.