I often joke to my sons that they ruined my body…and let’s face it, they kind of did. Totally worth it , but I will never again have the same shape I had pre-pregnancy. I am forever altered; my abs especially. Because of this, I have joined the planking craze. Why plank?
The plank exercise/pose is one of the top ten abdominal exercises according to the American Council on Exercise. Plus it’s a simple way to target your abs without just doing crunches, and it’s an easy exercise to squeeze into often full days.
The benefits of plank exercise include:
- Convenient: can be done anywhere and no equipment is needed
- Strength: strengthen the core (upper and lower abs, oblique muscles, lower back and butt)
- Flexibility: stretches various muscles around your shoulders, shoulder blades, collarbone, hamstrings and the arches of your feet, i.e. some of the same muscles that hold tension while sitting at a desk all day
- Prevention: strong abs provide additional strength and balance and protect you from lower back injuries
- Aesthetic: improves posture and teaches your abs to stay contracted in regular standing positions , i.e. streamlines the waistline and tones the belly (best reason!)
How to plank:
- Lay face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
- Push off the floor, raising up off your knees to your toes and resting mainly on your elbows. (Beginners can start planking on their knees and gradually work up to balancing on their toes)
- Contract your abs to keep yourself up and to prevent your butt from sticking up in the air
- Keep your back flat
- Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to longer intervals. I find this to be a great mental challenge as well.
- Once mastered there are tons of harder variations to progress towards.
The plank is one simple exercise with a multitude of great benefits.
Track your plank-a-day progress. You’ll be amazed how quickly you progress. I committed to holding a plank a day to my fellow bloggers. Sometimes my planks are interrupted by my little men screaming for my attention, and sometimes the same little men enjoy jumping over me while I’m holding position. Sometimes I remember to plank late at night after date nights with the hubby, and sometimes it’s a first thing in the morning exercise. The point is, it is easy and can be done anytime.
Some of my times:
- Day 1- 1:09
- Day 2- 1:24 (screaming from downstairs interrupted this plank)
- Day 3- 1:19
- Day 4- 2:01 (done at 10 pm at night)
- Day 5- 2:24
What is the longest time you’ve held a plank? What’s your favorite core exercise?
Originally published on 12/24/13