IMG_1350.JPG

The Awesome Plank

I frequently hear how people do not like planks. It's a lot like how people can feel about running. "I only run if someone is chasing me." "I only plank if someone is chasing me." No one says that second quote because if you planked when someone chased you then things would not work out well for you.

Let's talk about why someone can despise a plank and make the case for how that can be a benefit.

Planks are Awesome

Planks are f*cking hard. You know why planks are hard? Because it's an ALL OVER BODY WORKOUT. Practically every muscle in your body is working to keep you up. It is the single best workout for your six pack abdominal muscles, deep abdominal muscles, diaphragm, back, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. You are working all of these muscles at the same time. So yes, planks can be hard for this very reason.

But you know why you should do planks?

For this very reason.

You can work on strength, muscle endurance, balance, and posture all at the same time.

Working on your planks doesn't even take very long. If you are new to planks you can start by holding a plank for 10-30 seconds and slowly work your way up to holding for 1 minute. You can start on your forearms or your hands....your feet or your knees. Do what feels relatively comfortable for you, your level of fitness and your ability.

By the way the world record for holding the longest plank is 4 hours and 26 minutes. If a man can do a plank for 4 hours and 26 minutes you can try to hold a plank for 30 seconds to 1 minute. It's a drop in the bucket and you can definitely make that happen. It may not happen today, but it can happen over time.

One of my favorite work outs is where I move through a few plank variations in just a few minutes. My whole body is shaking and burning by the end. When I am in a pinch it's a perfect mini-workout.

Below you can find several videos with some ideas on how to integrate planking into your workout or yoga practice. Holding a plank can get a little boring, so these are some fun ways to spice it up.

Plank Medley

This video shows a medley of different exercises you can perform in your plank. Once you progress from holding a plank for longer than 30 seconds try some of these moves.

One-legged Plank

Here's another idea for a plank flow. You can insert this into your yoga practice or your work out. It's a fun way to challenge your balance.

Plank Challenge

This final video is a bit of a challenge and shouldn't be tried unless you are an advanced plank-er. Try adding in a push-up and a little break dancer move to get your heart rate up!