May Plank Challenge: Join Me, Won’t You?

For the month of May, as we are focusing on getting healthier, getting stronger, toning our bodies, and encouraging one another to accomplish our goals (especially when some of use really do NOT enjoy the exercises), we will look to the plank! And, no I am not talking about just laying various pieces of furniture and posting pictures via social media, I am talking about the real deal plank (AKA a hover.)

To perform a proper plank:

You should rest on your elbows, should length apart (your hands can come together at the center or go straight forward, but your forearms need to stay on the ground) and your toes should also be on the ground.  Keeping your entire core tight, and in a straight line, relaxing your head/neck so that you are looking straight down, you should hold this position. Plank view 1

Plank view 2

*If this position is too difficult or you are unable to hold it because of any medical/health conditions, you can hold this position on your hands (in push up position)

 

 

There are also some alterations that you can add in:

Leg Lifts: lift one leg at a time approximately 6 inches off the floor, hold for 5 seconds, then alternate with the other leg, all while holding your back, torso, and shoulders straight.

in the side view my leg is lifted a little high- only around 6" off the ground

in the side view my leg is lifted a little high- only around 6″ off the ground

 

 

leg height is better here

leg height is better here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plank with arm lift

Plank with arm lift

Arm lifts: Lift one arms at a time to shoulder height, and hold for 5 seconds, then alternate with your other arm, and maintain that straight back, torso and shoulders. You can do these by themselves OR when you lift the opposite leg.

 

 

Plank with alternating leg/arm lift

Plank with alternating leg/arm lift

 

 

 

 

How are planks going to transform my body?

Planks work to strengthen the core muscles in your body (your abdominal and back muscles) directly. Then there are other muscles that help to stabilize you in this pose and they strengthen as well:  shoulder muscles, pectoralis (chest), quads (upper legs), gluteals (butt), sartorius (thigh), serratus anterior (side of chest), tensor fasciae latae (thigh/hip), and gastrocnemius (calves).

Increasing your ability to hold these plank positions will help to strengthen and tone those muscles, which will not only make you appear leaner in your core, but also tighten your legs and butt too! Because we are strengthening your muscles, you will be burning more calories, even at rest, so when you feel sore, that is your muscles strengthening, and your body burning fuel. So, feel the burn, and love the burn: it means you are making progress!

The Challenge (…if you choose to accept it):

And for those of you who did the April Squat Challenge, keep maintenance squats ranging from 50-100 5 days a week (if you are able physically and medically).  If you have any specific medical and/or physical limitations, you should speak with your personal healthcare provider before taking on a strenuous challenge.

Day 1: 1 minute

Day 2: 2 minutes

Day 3: 2.5 minutes

Day 4: 3 minutes

Day 5: 3.5 minutes

Day 6: 4 minutes

Day 7: REST DAY

Day 8: 5 minutes

Day 9: 5.5 minutes

Day 10: 6 minutes

Day 11: 6.5 minutes

Day 12: 7 minutes

Day 13: 7.5 minutes

Day 14: REST DAY

Day 15: 8 minutes

Day 16: 8.5 minutes

Day 17: 9 minutes

Day 18: 9.5 minutes

Day 19: 10 minutes

Day 20: 10.5 minutes

Day 21: REST DAY

Day 22: 11 minutes

Day 23: 12 minutes

Day 24: 13 minutes

Day 25: 14 minutes

Day 26: 15 minutes

Day 27: 16 minutes

Day 28: 17 minutes

Day 29: 18 minutes

Day 30: 19 minutes

Day 31: 20 minutes

This is a HARD challenge BUT you can split up the planks into any set of reps and times that works for you and your body (i.e. split up the 20 minutes into 2 sets of 10 minutes in the morning doing 2 minute reps, so 5 planks in the morning and at night and you hit your 20 minute goal.) You should be able start with reps of 30 seconds and be able to increase that pretty quickly, adding in the arm and leg lifts to make it more challenging and to improve your core strength.

So let’s do this and get healthy, fit, and ready for summer!! And don’t forget to join the Facebook Page for the May Plank Challenge, where you can ask questions, get support, and (for those that dare) post their pre/post challenge bodies!

Yours in Good Health,

B


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