It is crucial for me to think about anything other than how much longer is left to plank when doing the 30 Day Plank Challenge. Especially now that I’m planking for 2.5 minutes. If someone wants to learn how to freeze time, all they have to do is hold a plank. Each minute feels like I have been holding myself up for hours! Molasses moves faster in the middle of winter than the seconds on my stopwatch.
So you’re probably wondering why I am doing the 30 Day Plank Challenge and why I keep telling you to do it with me. I often wonder the same thing as I’m propped up on my elbows wishing I had instead challenged myself by sitting on a porcupine or eating insects. The old adage of “no pain, no gain” comes to mind. I’m definitely feeling the pain, but what is my gain?
You can feel the burn, but not an isolated burn like when you’re working a certain muscle, i.e. stomach crunches or bicep curls. If you look at the photo below, you will see in red that planking works about half of your body! That’s not too shabby for trying to hold still for a few minutes.
Sorry for the nakedness, but she is the best depiction of a plank that I could find on the World Wide Web (the things you find on Google…).
If you’re new to fitness or perhaps are color-blind, I will explain more about how a plank will change your body. It works your whole core! Hooray! But now you’re probably wondering what exactly constitutes your core and why in the world you should want a strong one. Am I right? Well, let me tell you….
The “core” of your body is the middle 1/3 or so. It is made up of your abs, obliques (your “side abs” or “muffin top” depending on what kind of shape you’re in), lower back (the thing I pulled a couple of months ago and the reason I’m doing the 30 Day Plank Challenge), glutes (butt cheeks), hips, and hip flexors.
This image (courtesy of http://www.workoutz.com) shows what your core is. I had to switch it up and show a naked man this time.
A strong core is essential to your health and something that you should continue strengthening throughout your life. Mine was not very strong back in March, so I accidentally pulled my back while working a different part of my body. Since beginning the 30 Day Plank Challenge, I can tell you that it will improve your posture and you will notice muscles that you didn’t know existed. You’ll thank me when you’re 80 and not walking around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Besides your core, your arms and shoulders are getting worked on. You’ll want to throw in some other exercises if you want amazingly sculpted arms, but planking is a nice addition.
You should also notice that your legs are getting a little loving by doing the plank as well. Obviously, since they are holding you up. Feel the burn!
Next time I’m propped on my elbows, I will be thinking about all of the different muscles that are getting stronger while I hold myself up for what seems like eternity.
Basically, planking is the best thing since sliced bread. You won’t get a body like Beyonce or Brad Pitt by just planking (sorry for any burst bubbles), but it is an amazing addition to your work outs! So if you haven’t started already, join me in the 30 Day Plank Challenge!