The Chinese Back Plank
The Chinese Back Plank is without a doubt one of the most beneficial exercises to perform, period.
Regardless of whether you're a competitive CrossFit athlete, a boxer, a weekend gym-goer or a surfer the Chinese Back Plank can offer you numerous benefits
Benefits of the Chinese Back Plank
I personally used to disregard the benefits of exercises such as the plank on the premise that if it didn't result in increased muscle mass I wasn't particularly interested.
Instead I plodded away, through plateaus and injuries...
Don't adopt the mindset that I used to have, yes, the Chinese Plank isn't going to stack slabs of lean muscle mass onto your back but it will strengthen your lower back and core, improve your posture and assist in overall spine health.
These big benefits mean you'll be reducing your risk of injury and your strengthened back will assist when performing exercises that are aimed at size and strength building - take the bent over row and T bar row for example - performing these exercises heavy while having poor posture or a weak lower back are a recipe for disaster.
How to Perform the Chinese Back Plank Correctly
Begin with two objects of the same height that we can use to support your body - two chairs, two weight benches, two stacks of 45lb plates at an equal height... whatever you have to work with that meets these requirements is fine.
Rest shoulders at one end being supported by your object of choice will also raising your feet/ankles on opposing object.
Engage your glutes and squeeze your core to lift your body up into position.
Opt to either place your arms behind your head or rest them on your stomach - this comes down to personal preference.
Squeeze your glutes and core enough to ensure your body is in as straight of a line as possible - don't drop down or raise up at all, hold this straight position.
Aim to hold for 60 seconds per Chinese Back Plank.
Repeat 3 - 5 times.
If you can't hold your Chinese Back Plank that long this isn't an issue - just focus on holding for as long as you're able to while keeping your body straight.
Back Plank Variations
Weighted Chinese Back Planks
Getting through 1 minute holds of your Chinese Back Plank without an issue? Time to add some additional resistance.
Have a training buddy place a 45lb plate or two on your torso before proceeding with the same plank form listed above.
The key here is ensuring your buddy is on standby for the duration of the set - you don't want to fail and drop a bunch of plates on yourself.
Chinese Back Plank Chest Press
Work your chest and your back at the same time!
The addition of the chest press will force your body to remain straight and aligned (otherwise you won't be able to press your dumbbells correctly!).
Another queue when performing the chest press variation of the Chinese Back Plank is to dorsiflex your ankles (as if you were pointing your toes towards your shins) as this will assist with upper body mobility and stability.