7 Powerful Plank Variations That Are Fusion Friendly

I hear it all the time, one of the scariest things to get back to after a spinal fusion is exercising. Despite exercise being one of the best things for getting back into doing the things you love, it can get complicated. 

  • You’re not sure how your body will respond to the new hardware. 
  • You’re not sure what exercises are safe for you to do and which are not.
  • the list goes on.

If this is you then listen up!

This week I am breaking do 7 of my favorite Fusion Friendly plank variations for you to try. You may not be able to do all of them but what I want you to do is approach them confidently knowing that these are a great starting point before modifying them to fit you even better. 

The only requirement is that you are cleared to exercise by your doctor. These are not rehab-based exercises and only should be done once you are okay to return to exercise.  

Is It Safe To Train Your Core After A Spinal Fusion?

Yes, on 2 conditions: 

ONE – You have been cleared to exercise by your doctor.

TWO – You only do exercises that are safe for fusions and modified to fit your specific situation. 

Core training in and of itself is not dangerous. I think a lot of post-fusion warriors are really just scared of making their pain worse or causing more damage to their spine. 

These are two very rational and healthy fears but they become unhealthy when they begin to baby their bodies and say no to all “challenging” things out of fear of “breaking” their body. 

What I hope to do is encourage you with the fact that you can do more than you think it just takes a little getting used to your new reality. 

What Core Exercises Should I Not Do After A Spinal Fusion?

The core exercise you should not do after a spinal fusion will heavily depend on your situation and how your body responds to the exercise that you’re doing.

With that being said I have a small list of exercises that I suggest staying away from. 

Core Exercises I Would Stay Away From After A Fusion

  • Sit-ups (all types)
  • Crunches
  • Russian Twists
  • Hanging Leg Raises 
  • Side to Side Ball Taps

Here are a few videos I did of safe core training after a spinal fusion:

What Are The 7 Plank Core Exercises That Are Safe For Fusions?

Let’s do a brief overview of the 7 Plank Variations you will find in this week’s video! 

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation ONE: Static Bear Plank

For this exercise, you’re not moving anywhere and just holding a neutral position while in this “Bear” position. 

Knees are off the ground and your weight is being supported by your hands and toes.

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation TWO: Slow Bear Crawls

For this exercise, you are starting in the static bear plank position than starting a slow and controlled crawl forward. 

Make sure your hips do not sway or move excessively and your core stays tight. 

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation THREE : Adductor Plank

The Adductor Plank is a wonderful plank variation that is safe for fusions that really hits the areas that get neglected on most people in the gym. 

The key with this one is staying in control of the body both during the exercise and during rest. Pick a variation that I show in the video that fits your fitness level and feel free to modify it to fit you best. 

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation FOUR: Side Plank

I break down the easiest variation to this exercise along with the full-blown variation so pick the level that fits your best that you can execute with perfect form. 

It’s not about how long you can hold it for but how you can do this core exercise with excellence. 

In the video, I break down specific cues you need to be mindful of when getting into and out of this exercise. 

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation FIVE: Stability Ball Plank

There are lots of ways you can do this exercise to make it more or less challenging. The first thing I would do is find a variation that works for you and build from there. 

Be mindful of how you get into and out of this exercise and always remember you are looking to MASTER these positions and holds not just simply get through them alive. 

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation SIX: Traditional Front Plank

The front plank gets a lot of heat simply because people are doing it the wrong way. You see people doing these plank duration challenges and even the articles of that guy holding the world record plank but, to be honest as awesome as it is to be able to say you have a world record this is NOT the goal of a plank. 

There are so many other factors at play when it comes to holding a plank for that long that simply having a strong core is not enough. 

If that guy followed the cues that I break down in this video I would be VERY surprised to see him last a fraction of the time he held that plank for. 

Do them well and do them right and they will serve you exactly the way you need them to.

Fusion Friendly Plank Variation SEVEN: Shoulder Tap Straight Arm Plank

I love the straight arm plank variation for a number of reasons. One of them is you can add movement to the plank to make it harder to do.

A great start to adding movement to your plank is doing super slow shoulder taps. 

I break the How-To down in the full video but one quick reference I will make is to make sure you are spacing your feet out enough to fit your fitness needs.

Having your feet wide makes it easier and having them more narrow increases the difficulty. 

So if it’s easy at first play around with how you do it to make it harder. 

Discover The 10 Rules To Exercise After A Spinal Fusion That Goes Way Beyond Core Strength

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