In a yoga workshop in Tennessee several years ago, a yoga teacher told us of a pose that would transform your body if you did it once or twice a day. She proclaimed that this pose – if you held it for as long as you could – at least once a day is really the only thing you needed to strengthen your core. She proceeded to show us this pose, and, of course. We followed suit.
Why is it important to strengthen our core? In the past 10 years, I hear about that all the time. In high school gym class, we talked about toning our abdominals by doing sit-ups and those danged leg lifts. We were told that by strengthening your stomach muscles, you would also strengthen your back. Over time, that information evolved in several ways. First, they decided that we also needed to strengthen our lower abdominals with those butt lifts and butt tucks. Then, we had to strengthen the back, too. Supposedly all of this would make our tummies flat.
Later, we were told that our tummies actually won’t be flat if we do those things unless we tuck our stomach in and refine our form in a way that was really difficult to figure out. It seems the elusive abdominal strengthening exercise was …. well … elusive. I finally gave up. Who cares if my stomach is flat? I finally realized the importance of it all when I started doing yoga in my 40s. Ahhhhh… you see … the abdominals and back are part of the core of the body. Want to get into headstand? Gotta have a strong core. Want to lift up into a backbend from the floor? Strengthen your core. Want to hold scorpion pose while balancing on your head and forearms? You got it … you have to have a strong core. It seems the core is … well … the core. It’s the piece that holds it all together. It allows your arms to life more weight. It enables your legs to run longer and not tire out so quickly. A strong core keeps you free from injury. If we’d only had the whole picture in gym class and weren’t so fixated on a flat stomach.
The pose my yoga teacher was teaching us was not a yoga pose at all. It was a forearm plank. We’d rise up from the floor and balance on our toes and forearms for as long as we could, pulling in strength from all areas of the body when we felt fatigued. It was easy. It was accessible to everyone. It was eventually really, really tough. What’s easy for the first 15 seconds becomes harder and more painful the longer you hover above the ground. But, it’s sooooooo good for my core. This was confirmed when my trainer started working with me in Memphis. We didn’t do abdominal work. We did planks … and side planks … and planks where I moved around from side to side. Ugh … I hated them … and I got stronger.
My friend Billy posted a planking challenge on Facebook the other day, and my workout pal Gretchen jumped on it and suggested we do a planking challenge in the Rising Rock Stars group. If you’ve been looking for one thing you can do to make your body stronger and that will impact almost everything else you do, this is a great one to try. I don’t really believe it’s the only thing you need to do, but it is one of the most important things you can do to get yourself moving again. The great thing about it is that you don’t have to move that much. You just hover. We can all hover … until we can’t anymore. And, the next day we’ll be able to hover a little longer. You can see the results on the clock. You can feel the results when you pick up your grandkids. You can endure your daily activities just a little longer. And, if you’re an athlete, it’s going to make a big difference in your endurance, your strength and your performance.
Below is the plank challenge posted on Facebook. It starts November 1, and we’ll do a plank off on November 30. I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet, but we’ll figure it out. After all, I’ll have all that time to think while I’m planking. Plank on, y’all!!
Day 1 – 20 seconds
Day 2 – 20 seconds
Day 3 – 30 seconds
Day 4 – 30 seconds
Day 5 – 40 seconds
Day 6 – REST
Day 7 – 45 seconds
Day 8 – 45 seconds
Day 9 – 60 seconds
Day 10 – 60 seconds
Day 11 – 60 seconds
Day 12 – 90 seconds
Day 13 – REST
Day 14 – 90 seconds
Day 15 – 90 seconds
Day 16 – 120 seconds
Day 17 – 120 seconds
Day 18 – 150 seconds
Day 19 – REST
Day 20 – 150 seconds
Day 21 – 150 seconds
Day 22 – 180 seconds
Day 23 – 180 seconds
Day 24 – 210 seconds
Day 25 – 210 seconds
Day 26 – REST
Day 27 – 240 seconds
Day 28 – 240 seconds
Day 29 – 270 seconds
Day 30 – PLANK FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!
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Benefits of Plank Exercise:
*It strengthens your lower back
*It develops your core muscles – which include the abs, back, hips and the butt.
*Helps you to avoid injuries and encourage good posture
*Can be done anywhere
*Develops your abdominals by targeting the rectus abdominis
This is a beginner routine.. everyone starts somewhere!
Depending on your Fitness level.. this can be done once/day, if you are new to fitness.. OR if you are more experienced.. try for 2-3X/day!
If you are looking for an AWESOME HOME workout program to go along with this Challenge.. check out my online store for workouts like Insanity, P90X, TurboFire, Brazil Butt lift.. and MANY more!
ENJOY this Challenge! Share with your friends to help motivate others!
**Please consult with your Doctor if you have any medical conditions.. I am not a Dr. and can not tell you if this is right for you or if it is something that you can do. If you decide to participate in this Challenge.. you do so at your own risk. Thanks!
Categories: Health & Fitness