The Patty-Cake Plank
The Patty-Cake Plank

Strength (Video): Patty-Cake Planks

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

The plank exercise is an excellent way to improve the ability of the abdominal muscles to act as stabilizers. The role of the abdominals is often isometric in nature, rather than ballistic. That is, a primary role of the the abs is to maintain a straight torso position in order to provide a solid platform from which the limbs - in particular the legs - can move.

The plank forces students to hold a straight body position against the force of gravity. You can make the exercise more fun by performing with partners, and the Patty-Cake Plank is a great example. It increases the level of difficulty of the exercise while taking some of the boredom out of holding a plank position.

Two students face each other in a pushup position, with their hands on the ground beneath their shoulders. This is the basic plank position and in a regular plank exercise, they would hold this position until fatigue sets in.

With patty-cake planks, however, the partners lift one hand (i.e. both lift their left hand or their right hand) and slap hands, patty-cake style,  10-20 times, depending on their level of strength. They then repeat using the other hand.

A key to the exercise is to keep the body straight and square to the ground.

Easier Variation
If your students aren't strong enough to perform a regular plank, have them begin with an adapted pushup position in which the knees touch the ground instead of the feet.

To see a demonstration of the
Patty-Cake Plank exercise, watch the video below:

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2010, Physical Education,

Bookmark and Share

Printer-Friendly Format