The purpose of the study was to compare core muscle activation of the tradition prone plank with a modified version performed with a long-lever and posterior-tilt using surface electromyography. To further determine if a specific component of this modified plank was more effective than the other in enhancing muscle activity, the plank with a long lever and the plank with a posterior pelvic tilt were studied individually. Nineteen participants performed all four variations of the plank for 30 seconds in a randomized order with 5-minute rest between exercise bouts. Compared to the traditional prone plank, the long-lever posterior-tilt plank displayed a significantly increased activation of the upper rectus abdominis (p < 0.001), lower abdominal stabilizers (p < 0.001), and external oblique (p < 0.001). The long-lever plank showed significantly greater activity compared to the traditional plank in the upper rectus abdominis (p = 0.015) and lower abdominal stabilizers (p < 0.001), while the posterior tilt plank elicited greater activity in the external oblique (p = 0.028). In conclusion, the long-lever posterior-tilt plank significantly increases muscle activation compared to the traditional prone plank. The long-lever component tends to contribute more to these differences than the posterior-tilt component.
Keywords: Core stability; abdominal muscles; core performance; long-lever posterior-tilt plank.