How and Why to Plank for Fitness

plankingI briefly attended a fitness class whose instructor would shout that out. She was a delightful instructor. Positive. Fun. Upbeat. Students loved her. Unfortunately, I took that class when I wasn’t yet ready to give myself a chance. See, I couldn’t get the routine down in 3 classes and I hadn’t lost any weight in that same week, so I gave up on myself and was no longer showing her my plank.

Seven months ago, that attitude changed. I took up interval jogging with the help of an app that had me jogging for only 30 seconds. At first, I couldn’t even do 20 seconds, but that changed to 30 seconds within the first week. 30 second spurts turned into 40. Within a month, I was reaching more duration based personal goals.

That’s when it hit me; progress CAN come, if you set small goals for yourself.

I had a size loss goal too. In the past 7 months, I’ve been able to lose 3 inches off my middle aged, post-partum abdomen. Now, I’ve been faced with another plateau. This calls for another set of small goals. I need to get back into the habit of regular resistance training. I know now that the secret to gaining discipline and motivation is to take a big change in small steps: I’m gonna show myself my plank.

For the next 30 days, I’m going to follow a schedule that gradually increases the length of time I hold the position. It starts off small and I can go longer than 20 seconds right now, but I’m not going to. Not only is this about strengthening all of the muscles involved in planking, but it’s also an exercise for my mind.

First, make sure you’ve got the position. Arms bent at the elbow, propping yourself up. Hands flat on the floor. When you’re ready to begin, lift the lower half of your body up by propping the toe tips of your sneakers on the floor. Try to maintain your body in as straight a line as you can. Now, hold.

20 seconds on the first day. I can do 20 seconds.

20 seconds again tomorrow. I’m sure I can do that too.

Can you?

Follow the schedule posted here and: Show me your plank!

Day Duration
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

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