How Scapula Position Affects Muscular Activation in Plank

What’s This Research About?

The prone plank is often used to improve core strength, stability, and endurance. Previous research has shown the prone plank activates a variety of core muscles, including the internal oblique, rectus abdominis, external oblique, and the erector spinae. To correctly perform the prone plank requires keeping the spine and the pelvis in a neutral position while maintaining the natural curvature of the spine.

Research also shows a posterior pelvic tilt in the prone plank position increases activation of the core musculature. In a prone plank position, the scapulohumeral joint tends to abduct and protract. Changing the scapula position in a prone plank could alter the angles of the trunk, changing the EMG response of core musculature. By using different combinations of pelvic position and scapular position during the prone plank exercise, this research aims to evaluate the influence of scapula position on EMG activity of the core muscles.

About The Author


Jenn Pilotti

TITLE: Influence of Scapular Position on the Core Musculature Activation in the Prone Plank Exercise


PUBLICATION: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

DATE: 2017

AUTHORS: Juan M. Cortell-Tormo, Miguel Garcia-Jaen, Ivan Chulvi-Medrano, Sergio Hernandez-Sanchez, Angel G. Lucas-Cuevas, and Juan Tortosa-Martinez

Active stiffness: Part of core stability achieved through muscular co-contraction, specifically the serape effect.

Core stability: The ability of the osteoarticular and muscular structures to maintain or retain the position of the trunk when an external force is applied, coordinated by the motor control system.

Passive stiffness: Part of core stability achieved through osseous and ligamentous structures.

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): In sports and particularly exercise testing, the Borg RPE Scale measures perceived exertion. In medicine this is used to document the patient’s exertion during a test, and sports coaches use the scale to assess the intensity of training and competition. The RPE scale is used to measure the perceived intensity of your exercise and runs from 0 – 10.

Serape effect: The interaction between the rhomboids, serratus, and obliques: these muscles orient diagonally, providing force production between the hip and opposite shoulder; the serape effect provides the muscles of the core an optimal length-tension environment to maximize force production.*

Surface electromyography (surface EMG): A way to analyze muscle activity through the use of surface electrodes.

Thoracolumbar fascia: Fascial structure that connects the lower limb via the gluteus maximus to the upper limb (via the latissimus dorsi).


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By |2018-04-16T17:57:17-04:00April 17th, 2018|Musculoskeletal, Other Exercises, Yoga Poses|2 Comments

About the Author:

Jenn Pilotti has a BS in exercise physiology from UC Davis. After graduating in 2002, she was hired by the Beach and Tennis Club at Pebble Beach as a full time personal trainer. While there, she had the privilege of working with individuals of all ages, many of whom had aches and pains from a life well led. This piqued her interest in injuries, prevention, and pain. After years of undirected self study (and after leaving the security of a full time position to go out on her own), she enrolled in an online program through AT Still University, eventually acquiring a master's in human movement while working full time. After graduating, she continued to read research and write about its application to her work with clients. She fell in love with yoga in 2004, finally became 200 hour RYT in 2014 after years of workshops and self study (there seems to a theme), and continues to study somatic disciplines. She is DNS exercise trainer certified, FRCms, MovNat level I certified, GMB trainer certified, has taken PRI respiration, myokinematics, impingement and instability, and pelvis restoration, and has read an embarrassing number of books on movement, psychology, and wellness. She has an insatiable curiosity about what makes for a healthy person, physically and mentally, and she finds herself often asking why things work for some and not for others. She strongly believes in the power of knowledge and the power of movement. Learn more about Jenn Pilotti.

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