I have successfully completed the first week of the 30 Day Plank Challenge!
It hasn’t been easy, mostly due to the fact that I keep forgetting to do my plank each day until I am cozily wrapped in my blanket with my lights off at night. Lo and behold, I have rolled out of my bed and onto the floor each time (apologies to my roommate for the thud when I hit the ground). Since today marks the start of me holding the plank for at least a minute, I want to focus on doing the plank correctly. Don’t think that you can prop yourself up on your forearms and toes and call it a plank – it’s a lot more complex than that if you want to look like you know what you’re doing.
**The following tips come from a licensed personal trainer, the one and only J.D. Porcelli at Synergy Fitness (look him up if you’re in the Charleston, SC area and need your butt kicked).**
Start on your forearms and toes with your feet hip-width apart. This provided a challenge for me because my brain kept telling me that my hips are a lot wider than they are so I had a spread eagle stance going on.
Engage your abs by imagining someone is about to punch you and straighten your back. As you will see in the photos below, just because your back is straight does not mean that you are doing a plank correctly.
Next, channel your inner plank of wood (not the exact words of J.D. Porcelli). Feel yourself turning into the plank of wood. Or just imagine that someone is holding a 2×4 next to you. Are you as straight as that 2×4? A common tendency is for people to raise their rear ends for all the world to see. If this is you, lower it. Lower that badunkadunk right now because this is not the time for downward dog. Perhaps now you have lowered your bottom too far and now resemble an old swaybacked mare. Let us find the happy medium.
Now that you have that booty under control, you should resemble the pose on the bottom photograph. It may help to have a mirror or an actual person coach you until you get used to holding a plank in the correct form.
At this time, I want you to look at your hands. Admire those awesome creations on the floor in front of you. Count your fingers. Keep counting them until you are done with your plank. As much as you want to stare at the clock on the wall and be depressed when you see you’ve only been holding your plank for 30 seconds instead of the 30 minutes that it feels like, don’t. Your neck will thank you for this. By looking at your hands, you are keeping your head in line with the rest of your body and not putting strain on your neck. However, if you refuse to follow this rule, I can recommend a great chiropractor.
This last tip is not something that you tend to have trouble with while sitting, standing, leaning, or in any position other than the plank, but it is crucial that while you are counting your fingers and channeling your inner wooden plank that you DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE.
Planking takes practice and patience despite looking so simple. You won’t look pretty and you will feel super awkward at the beginning, but we’ll be awkward together as we push through this challenge! You can find more tips by following me on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/learning2bleigh and on Instagram under learningtobeleigh.
Have you started the 30 Day Plank Challenge? If not, you have nothing to lose and a strong core to gain! Start today and keep following me as I sweat and grunt my way though the rest!