Try This Single Leg Plank To Crush Your Core

Crush Your Core and Hips with This Single Leg Plank Exercise

Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one exercise to crush your entire core as well as many of the stabilizers throughout your body then you’ll want to try this single leg anti-sliding plank on the slide-board as demonstrated by one of my awesome clients Leslie Petch.  

Anti-sliding planks are some of the most effective and challenging core exercises you’ll ever attempt.  These drills can be performed using a standard slide board, Valslide discs, slick surfaces (i.e. using a towel or socks on an Olympic lifting platform), or any other combination that allows the feet to slide.

This creates exponentially greater tension than normal throughout your entire core.  The reason why is you’re continually fighting the slick nature of the surface that’s attempting to extend your hips and spine and cause your body to collapse to the floor.  In essence these represent the epitome of anti-extension core stabilization movements. Throw in the single leg variation as shown here and you’ve now added in a rotary stability component making it a complete core exercise. Just be prepared to brace your abs and core like you’ve never had to or else these simply won’t happen.  

In addition the hip flexors (not the hip extensors) must work incredibly hard on these.  Yep that’s right this plank variation pretty much puts the whole “glute squeeze” controversy to rest once and for all as attempting to aggressively activate the glutes  during this plank or other advanced plank variations make the movements nearly impossible (at least in terms of performing it correctly) not to mention downright dangerous.

In other words, if you still think performing your planks with a glute squeeze is ideal (which is perhaps the worst training cue you could ever implement on a plank) you’ll immediately see why this is counterproductive as anti-sliding variations will quickly change your mind.  In essence the slideboard (particularly when combined with single leg variations) magnifies the various force vectors present for any and all planks and immediately exposes the targeted musculature that’s necessary for the movement.  For planks that means the entire core musculature including the transverse abs, rectus abs, and internal and external obliques, as well as the hip flexors and quads. 

In fact if the hip flexors and quads don’t aggressively activate on this intense plank variation your feet will immediately slide backward out of control and you’ll fall flat on the floor due to the inability to resist extension forces.  Simply put, gravity combined with the slick nature of the slide board wants to extend your hips and low back towards the floor.  This requires intense core and hip flexor activation to resist these extension forces.  Firing the glutes negates and impairs optimal hip flexor activation, which not only produces dysfunctional mechanics but also makes advanced plank movements such as this nearly impossible. 

On a side note, most individuals have one side of their core and corresponding hip region that’s much stronger than the other.  This variation will not immediately expose that but it will quickly begin to address these imbalances within seconds. 

I generally recommend 3 sets of 20-30 seconds of total time under tension for each leg.  If that’s still too easy try adding weight to your back as shown in the video.