TL 14

Tom LaFountain

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The plank is a static body weight exercise that engages multiple muscle groups at the same time. It is extremely effective at strengthening your core while working your shoulders, arms, glutes and mid back. Experts advise planks to be done from 10-30 seconds up to 1-2 minutes. People new doing planks will do them on their hands. Those stronger and more experienced will plank on their elbows. The plank itself demands the person to be pretty well conditioned before starting the exercise.

Golfers in exercise programs as well as other athletes conditioning their bodies must be aware of the stress that the exercise places on the shoulder area. Recently we have treated more shoulder injuries in golfers as the result of planks being added to their exercise programs. Generalized shoulder pain from anterior -posterior imbalances, rotator cuff impingement, and labral tears have appeared from frequently doing planks in a workout regime. 

The labrum contributes to shoulder stability and the plank position demands the shoulder to be stable. Golfers who had no prior shoulder problems can develop micro-tears in the labrum from the plank position demanding more stability from the shoulder than it is capable. Also the position of the arm and forearm during the plank can influence impingement stresses on the rotator cuff. Fraying and partial tears in rotator cuff tendons are more common if the arm is in an internally rotated position for 1-2 minutes and bearing static body weight.

Therefore the plank is a great exercise for full body strengthening but the golfer must be aware of :

1. length of time holding the plank (never exceed 2 minutes).

2. arm position during the plank (neutral shoulder position).

3. be sure your overall body strength AND STABILITY is capable of performing the exercise correctly.


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