Mid workout. Ok, time to get into plank, just a 60 second hold, easy. There you go, thinking about the rest of the day: your grocery store list, an email you need to answer, did you RSVP to your second cousin's best friend's sister's wedding? Ok, how much time left.. WHAT THE $@*%!!!! Only 15 seconds have gone by? Now you're stuck planking there, shaking, watching your sweat drip drip drip down on the mat below you. When did one minute turn into ten?! UGH. You take a deep breath, and remind yourself, core training is one of the most important parts of a training program, so you continue to plank it out. Many people think your "core" is just your abs. The core is the center of the body, and consists of the abdomen muscles, the hips, the spine, and back muscles. It's the foundation of your body where your arms and legs stem from. Your core rotates and helps give it momentum to move in any direction, it helps maintain posture, balance, and alignment of the body. A strong core helps you sit up straight at your desk, helps prevent injury when you pick up your toddler or a heavy box, and takes away low back pain by keeping you standing upright.
Alright- SOLD! Let's get onto a basic, and super important core exercise- the plank! The plank uses many major muscles in your body starting with all abdominal muscles, shoulders, hips, quads, and glutes. Planks are great to incorporate in your program, and you can work on them every day. Planks can be done on your hands for a high plank, or on your forearms for a low plank. If you are a beginner, start on your knees or on a bench.
STEP 1: Lay down flat on your stomach, and place your palms on the ground next to your shoulders, and your feet flexed with your toes on the ground.
STEP 2: Press yourself up into push up position making sure your body is in a straight line.
STEP 3: Draw your belly button to your spine, engage your quads and glutes, and breathe normally. Keep your eyes focused at the ground just over your nose to maintain a neutral spine.
STEP 4: Hold for ten seconds, and lower yourself back to start position. Continue with holding for 10 seconds, or challenge yourself to hold longer!
** Make sure your body is in a straight line. You want to avoid your hips being too high or your body sagging down towards the ground, as shown below.
One way I like to add in plank into my routine, is "resting" in plank in between sets or intervals. It's called active rest, and it is KILLER!!! I challenge you to try it! You can always rest in plank- HAPPY PLANKING!