This is a reblog from the Do Away with SMA Team Blog of which I am a member and contributing author. We are running a Plank-a-Day Challenge throughout the month of November and it starts TODAY, November 1st! You can find the original post here! You can also add your name to the Google Doc to track your progress here!
Coach Brian here for Team DAWS! Need a challenge? Great, then you’ve stopped by at the perfect time! The entire month of November the DAWS Team is challenging YOU to do a plank a day! Sounds easy right?
First, what does a plank look like when done with good form? In the pictures below notice the straight line from the person’s head to their heels. Note that their neck is in a neutral position not hanging low or hyperextending toward the ceiling. Weight is balanced between the forearms and the toes. You can keep your feet together or if you need more balance you may spread your feet to a single shoulder width apart. My suggestion though is to keep them together for maximum benefit. Finally note that in both pictures the elbows are directly below the shoulder. Again, this helps with stability and protects the shoulder joint.
For accuracy I like to hold a watch in my hands with a seconds counter so as to time the plank as opposed to looking up at a clock or counting. Looking up puts your neck and spine in an odd position and counting tends to speed up as your muscles fatigue.
Ok, now that you’ve seen a picture of what this should look like let me tell you what’s in it for you. The standard plank pictured here is a g-r-e-a-t, GREAT exercise for building abdominal strength. Hate sit-ups? Yeah, me too and that’s why I don’t do them…okay I don’t do them because as far as abdominal exercises go there are a ton of better exercises to do than “ye olde gym teacher stand-by.”
Benefits of Plank Endurance:
- Strength – Works your upper and lower abdominal areas. Planks will build strength in your stabilizer muscles, promotes good posture and will help with any back pain you may have while also helping to protect against back injury! Most importantly, doing planks will “teach” your abdominal muscles to stay contracted while you stand and when you exercise. All-in-all it a great exercise for building all around core strength.
- Flexibility – Plank exercises help increase flexibility in posterior (rear) muscle groups. Your shoulder girdle expands and stretches various muscles around your shoulders, collarbone and shoulder blades. Pressing the front of your thighs upward and lengthening your legs as much as possible stretches the hamstrings that form the back of your thighs. Plank exercises also stretch the arches of your feet as your toes hyperextend to support your weight.
- Mental – There is something about the mental battle of holding a static position as your body begins to shake from the effort. This exercise is not only great from a physical standpoint, but will also build your mental fortitude (will power) to keep pushing when your body begins to fatigue.
- Aesthetic – This one is easy. Plank = Tight abs. Tight glutes. Tight core. That’s tight yo.
Want to track your progress with the rest of us? Check out this Google Doc Spreadsheet and add your name to the list!
So here’s the 30 day challenge and no skipping on Thanksgiving Day for my US participants!
The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof!
Nov 1 – 20 seconds
Nov 2 – 20 seconds
Nov 3 – 30 seconds
Nov 4 – 30 seconds
Nov 5 – 40 seconds
Nov 6 – REST
Nov 7 – 45 seconds
Nov 8 – 45 seconds
Nov 9 – 60 seconds
Nov 10 – 60 seconds
Nov 11 – 60 seconds
Nov 12 – 90 seconds
Nov 13 – REST
Nov 14 – 90 seconds
Nov 15 – 90 seconds
Nov 16 – 120 seconds
Nov 17 – 120 seconds
Nov 18 – 150 seconds
Nov 19 – REST
Nov 20 – 150 seconds
Nov 21 – 150 seconds
Nov 22 – 180 seconds
Nov 23 – 180 seconds
Nov 24 – 210 seconds
Nov 25 – 210 seconds
Nov 26 – REST
Nov 27 – 240 seconds
Nov 28 – 240 seconds
Nov 29 – 270 seconds
Nov 30 – PLANK FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!
Track Your Progress Here. Just add your name to the honor scroll!
That’s it! In 30 days and you’ll be a plank master! Is that even a thing? Well, it will be come November 30th!
Good luck and Happy Planksgiving!!