The plank. The move you love to hate. You know it’s great for you, but it’s just so…. uncomfortable.
Why We Plank
Obviously I’ve planked before. P90X and Insanity include planks and so do many yoga and boot camp classes. However, usually the plank is part of another movement (i.e. mountain climbers or part of a vinyasa). It’s not often that you simply hold a plank for a minute or two or more. However, since starting my classes at the Dailey Method Carlsbad, I’ve come to realize how hard just sitting still can really be. Although each class is different, we always do some variation of plank and we always hold it for at least a full minute. Some of the especially tough teachers like to make us hold it for longer and then add variations like moving our hips from side to side or getting up into a straight-arm plank and then back down. Although in the moment I’m in pain, I always try to make it through the entire segment without letting myself take a break. Since I can’t get through thigh work, plank is my redemption!
Planks are an incredible supplement to any training plan. For runners, a strong core is essential. A plank works the entire body, but primarily targets the core, shoulders, chest and quadriceps. In the book I’m reading and using for my marathon training, Advanced Marathoning, two of the moves that the author recommends you do several times a week are the plank and the side plank.
Plank Every Day?
The other day I read this post by a FitFluential blogger about Plank A Day. I had seen some rumblings about it on Twitter and figured it was just like it sounds – do a plank a day. Well that is basically what it is, but I’ve only taken notice as of late. The blogger wrote about how she started Plank a Day back in March. She held the plank until failure every single day and recorded her time. She started with a 1 minute plank and made her way up to 7:30!!!
Of course, I’m always up for a challenge. I actually timed myself about a month ago right after I started going to Dailey Method to see how long I could hold it. I figured I’d try for one minute and see if I could do it. I was surprised when the first minute flew by! Before I knew it I was at 2 minutes and I decided that was enough. After reading the FitFluential post which included several tips for holding a longer plank (tips above), I put myself up to the challenge. This morning after my 10 mile run (did my long run this morning so I could take the entire weekend off for a wedding that I’m in), I pulled out the yoga mat and got my iPhone ready to time myself. Here are the results:
Definitely not bad for post 10 mile run but I know there is room for improvement! As a goal oriented Type-A personality, the best way for me to actually plank several times a week is for me to do something like Plank A Day. My goal – make it to 3 minutes!
Anyone want to join me and starting planking?