Plank Shoulder Progression

Plank Shoulder Progression

This is a great shoulder and core exercise progression for higher level patients and/or athletes.  It builds shoulder stability and strength on top of proximal core stability.

Precautions & Prerequisites
  • No Pain
    • This position heavily loads the posterior tissues (RTC, capsule, labrum, etc.) and ACJ with possible SA impingement as supporting arm adducts if joint centration is not maintained
  • No Scapula Winging
    • Regress to Supine Holds, Sphinx, Quadruped if unable to control scapula
  • Proper Spinal Stability / Alignment
  • Ability to Hold Straight Arm Plank for >30 seconds

  • Integrates shoulder stability through a core strengthening exercise
  • Strengthens anterior core in conjunction with UE movement (prevents rib flare)
  • Improves scapula stability in the transverse plane (less winging)
  • Improves eccentric transverse plane shoulder stability/strength
  • Improves shoulder abduction strength

Compensations to Assess
  • Loss of spinal position
  • Shoulder elevation
  • Scapula winging
  • “Falling” into closed chain (supporting) shoulder during dynamic variations
  • Excessive reaching - closed chain arm should not go past midline
  • Substituting stability with momentum/speed

Contributed by Dr. Aaron Swanson, DPT


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