We are on to day 2 of our January Wellness Challenge. Since it’s #workoutwednesday, let’s go ahead and do a *plank challenge this month.
You don’t need a partner, or a magical forest – we’ll walk you through it.
Why do we do planks?
- Every activity you do starts from the center of your body – your foundation. Your core foundation is made up of all the muscles from shoulders to your hips. The stronger your foundation, the stronger you become and the more workload your body can handle.
- You need to do exercises that challenge all these muscles together in unison.
- When you do a plank, all the muscles between your shoulders and hips are basically by doing tiny, quick contractions to hold the spine in place – stabilizing the body.
- Doing exercises to stabilize your body builds a stronger foundation.
- A stronger foundation reduces risk of injury and increases performance for every activity you do – from doing household chores to athletics.
- Start with a plank from the knees. Place hands (with weight evenly distributed on the hand and each finger) or elbows directly under shoulders and have your hips in line with your shoulder blades – your torso parallel to the floor. Your neck is in a neutral position, shoulders are retracted and depressed, abdominals pulled in 30% out of 100%, and you squeeze your glutes. Focus on your breath and hold for 20-30 seconds, (or more: 45 seconds-90 seconds).
- If you are successful from knees and want more of a challenge, transition to the toes. Continue to pull abs in, squeeze glutes, and now squeeze your quadriceps (front of legs). Make sure your hips stay in line with your shoulder blades, otherwise drop back down to your one knee or both. Hold for 20-30 sec., 45 sec., or 1:30 min.
- To challenge yourself more, add a leg lift, (only lift 1-2 inches off the floor, reaching the leg long, not bending your knee) and continue to keep your foundation as still as possible. Hold 10-15 sec. each leg, 22 sec. each leg or 45 sec. each leg.
- You can switch it up by taking your legs a little wider, and lift an arm up – as long as you can keep good form with your body squared off to the floor and not shrugging your shoulders. Hold 10-15 sec. each arm, 22 sec. each arm, or 45 sec. each arm.
- If you can do a plank face down, you should be able to do a reverse plank, face up for body balance.
- Start in a seated position on a mat with bent knees. Hands behind you under shoulders, and lift hips up, squeezing your glutes (butt). Chest is open and shoulders are retracted and depressed. Look up to keep neck neutral.
- As successful you can straighten out one leg, or both.
- Hold position for same about of time as regular plank.
*Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.