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Workout Nerdout: Episode 4 -- Rolling Planks

When time is not on your side, but you want to get in a great workout, the rolling plank is perfect for you. It's an unfortunate fact that most people, including those that exercise on a regular basis and some personal trainers, skip their core exercises. This is most unfortunate because such a wide range of physical activities that we do demand strong cores.

Having a strong core is much more than a simple six pack; in fact, having a six pack does not mean that one has a strong core. Exercise machines, such as the ab cruncher, are effective in building abdominal muscle, but that is just one component necessary for a strong core.

So, what is so important about having a strong core? First and foremost is stability. A key component to lifting a heavy load for squats is having a strong core to keep the torso upright, steady and controlled. When one has gone a number of months of using only the leg press, then give back squats a try, that person may have legs strong enough to lift a heavy weight, but he/she would probably be struggling to maintain control of the bar.

That said, by using plank exercises, such as the rolling plank is an efficient way to attack the front, rear and side core muscles. As a word of caution, particularly with side planks, if you are suffering from a shoulder injury, this exercise may not be for you.

Julio Lopez is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, former collegiate rower, and Navy Veteran. If you have any questions or interest in personal training with Julio, please reach out to him at

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