By Elizabeth Towe

Objective:  The plank is a great basic exercise that we can do anywhere. In this static exercise, when we activate all of the appropriate muscles to support the perfect plank, the result will build great foundational core. But we are not static in life! We have to be able to translate (dynamic) motion from our stable static position. The plank to star is a great way to practice.

Plank to star develops the coordination of scapula (shoulder blades), glenohumeral (shoulder joint) and torso stability. The challenge is to move from (prone) plank to star (side plank) by driving external rotation from the shoulder, without using the weight of the legs for momentum. The benefit of this is translated through the shoulder and torso in running and swimming and through the hips for running.

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Towe

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Towe


  • Starting in a straight arm plank position, with shoulders over wrists, gently brace core, push shoulder blades down and away from the ears and feel them on the back of the ribcage, contract glutes and quads to hold the straight line.
  • Inhale in your plank position and as you exhale begin to externally rotate your shoulder joint and shift your weight onto the right hand and into side plank as you reach the left hand up towards the ceiling.  The rotation should be generated first through the hips and pelvis and stabilized through the torso, spine and shoulder blades.
  • Inhale back down into your starting plank position.  Reset all of the original cues of your plank and exhale to shift your side plank to the other side.
  • Repeat this 8-10 times per side for 2-3 sets.

# # #

Elizabeth Towe is a runner and a cyclist and the owner of Balanced Movement Studio in Carrboro. She graduated from East Carolina with a degree in exercise and sports science and has been personal training for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal for all of her clients is to help them realize and achieve the optimal quality in their life – and to remember to have fun doing it.