Do a Plank – Don’t Be a Plank

How’s your core fitness?

plank exercise side view

Are your abs nice and strong to keep your back in alignment and prevent back pain? Are your core muscles stabilized to help you keep great posture and keep you strong for your daily activities and exercise programs? Are you doing any ab exercises?

 

Seems like we exercise our limbs, heart and lungs regularly but neglect our abs.

 

When our daughter challenged us on Facebook to join her in doing the Plank this year we took her up on it.

 

After all it only takes 30 seconds a day to start and probably not over 3 minutes per day at the max, unless you’re really tough and determined. You might even need to start at 5 or 10 seconds.

 

So what’s a plank?

 

Simply an exercise.  Here’s how you do it:

how to perform a Plank exercise

Lie face down on a mat or cushioned floor. Raise your torso and place your elbows so they are directly under your shoulders with your forearms and palms down and fingers facing forward. Tighten your abdominal/butt muscles like you are cinching a girdle around your chest, waist and lower torso. Contract your thigh muscles to straighten your legs strongly and flex your ankles so you can roll up to the balls of your feet in the next step.

 

Move your core upward by gradually lifting it off the floor. Be sure to keep your torso and legs contracted tightly. Do not allow any sagging in your chest or low back. Avoid pushing your hips into the air or bending the knees. No shrugging, shoulders must stay away from the ears. Rest only on your elbows, not your forearms keeping your shoulders directly over your elbows with your palms facing down through the entire exercise.

 

Maintain this Plank position for 5 seconds initially. If you still feel strong continue to hold the position longer. Use a timer to measure how long you can maintain the Plank position. Record the seconds. As you progress you can add more seconds to your Plank workout.

 

Move back to the floor by keeping the torso and legs stiff as you slowly and gently lower your body back towards the floor.

 

And that’s it all done. Only one exercise.  It’s a lot quicker to do it than to read the directions on how to do it.

 

Be cautious with this exercise if your have any back pain or develop back pain during the exercise. Always check with your doctor when engaging in a new physical activity.

 

Each day add a few more seconds to the length of time that you hold the Plank position. Eventually you will find a level that you stay at for awhile, maybe 2-3 minutes total.

 

What benefits can you expect from the Plank exercise?

 

  • Stronger core muscles, but the limb muscles are strengthened too
  • Great ab exercise
  • Sleeker body
  • Better able to perform other exercises and daily activities
  • Helps improve posture
  • May perk you up mentally
  • Improves flexibility of muscle around the shoulders, hamstrings and bottom of your feet
  • Very convenient – no equipment needed, can do it anywhere

 

So, will you take up the challenge of 30 seconds of Plank per day?

 

Don’t be a plank, do a Plank!

 

More instructions on proper positioning for the Plank and video demonstration:

The Right Way to do the Plank Exercise

Expanded descriptions of benefits of plank exercise:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/500440-what-does-the-plank-exercise-benefit/

 

Blessings,

Dr. Jo

About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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2 Comments On “Do a Plank – Don’t Be a Plank”

Velma

Velma

21 January 2014

;ok Jo, but my plank looks more like a swinging bridge vn

Dr. Jo

Dr. Jo

1 February 2014

I love it!

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