Planks: The Challenge

by lydia on May 1, 2012

Here we are again at the start of a new month. And you know what that means, right?! Time for a new monthly challenge here at Divine Health. So far I have received a lot of positive feedback from my readers in regards to the monthly challenges and plan to keep adding a new challenge every month. Are you ready for this month’s challenge? Let’s Plank!

What is a Plank?

The most basic plank position is holding oneself in a push up position, thereby isolating and engaging the core muscles of the abs, back and shoulders. Planks can also benefit the traps, delts, pecs, glutes and quads. So overall it’s a very solid exercise to help strengthen your body. You can do it on your hands or your forearms. The plank is also a great move for building strength for pushups. Planks can vary greatly and can even have additional weight added. Let’s take a look at a few varieties of planks;

 

The Challenge:

This month’s challenge is to plank every day. I personally plan to incorporate it into my regular yoga routine, and may not do it absolutely every day. I know my limits. However, some of you may want to do it slow and build up daily. Just to clarify, this is not to be mistaken with the type of planking where people lay flat over a surface and hold a ‘board/plank’ like position for as long as possible. Though, hey if that floats your boat than go for it! We are gonna do planks on your hands or forearms -that’s how we will do it! Okay!

Beginners: Start out with a daily plank and hold for 30 seconds either on your hands or forearms. Repeat if you can up to 3 x. The following day, add 10 seconds to your plank time. Repeat this and by the end of the month you may be able to hold a plank for 5 minutes or do a series of planks over 5 minutes. Or if you need to start on your knees, see the above video progression and start there.

Intermediate: If you can already easily hold a one minute or more plank, try going for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Vary your planks by doing side planks as well. Those are great to target the obliques. Place one forearm on the ground and balance on the side of your foot. Switch and do the other side – hold each side for one minute or more if you can. You can even do dips while side planking, lower your hips and raise them – repeat 5-10  times and do it on both sides.

Advanced: Incline Planks & Weighted Planks

Incline planks can be from either direction, where you have your hands or forearms on a higher surface such as a stability ball or chair. Or you can elevate your feet on a stability ball or chair and hold your plank that way. Using the ball will cause you to use more muscles to hold in a still position, and create much more of a challenge to your core.

Weighted planks can be done in normal position on hands or forearms. I prefer to do these on my forearms. If you can already do a long hold plank for up to 3-5 minutes this type of plank will be a good challenge for you. Just add some weight to your back – either a weighted vest, a plate or perhaps even a small child that will actually just sit still on your back.

Logging Your Planks for a Prize

So, at the end of each challenge I have offered a small prize to one lucky winner drawn randomly. How that will work is, you will need to subscribe to this post and come back and comment every time you plank. EVERY TIME. The more times you comment the greater your chance of winning. I will keep the prize a secret until I draw the winner. The reason for that is, I want you to focus on your goal, which is to get strong and create an amazing habit. The prize is just a bonus. Commenting also gives you a sense of accountability and accomplishment, so please be sure to comment as often as you plank.

This month, I am adding a bit of an additional bonus to the mix. I am looking for testimonies from my readers about their experience with the challenge. At the end of this month, I will select one reader’s testimony to post as well as offer a free 1 hour consult with me. So, as you start this challenge consider writing your goals, taking pictures and keeping track of how it makes you feel. I’ll even go so far as to say I’ll take testimonies from the previous 3 challenges as well, and choose one random winner at the end of the month. Sound good?! Be sure to email me your story by the end of May @ DIVINEHEALTHFROMTHEINSIDEOUT@GMAIL.COM.

So, what do you say, will you join me this month for ‘The Plank Challenge’?!! Be sure to like Divine Health on Facebook, as I’ll be putting out daily reminders, tips, tricks and encouragement all month long!

HERE WE GO!

THE WINNER OF THIS CHALLENGE GOES TO COMMENT #7 – SHERRY MORRIS! CONGRATULATIONS SHERRY – PLEASE CONTACT ME BY JUNE 4TH TO CLAIM YOUR GIFT!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicolle May 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I cant wait to start this one.. I have been wanting to challenge myself on Planks… :)

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Sherry M May 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I’m in! as usual! :-)

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Lara May 5, 2012 at 9:05 am

good idea! I’ll start today.

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Sherry M May 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Today, doing 2 sessions of; plank on hands-1min 30 sec, into downward dog-1min, back to plank 1min30sec, lower to floor, chaturanga hold 30 sec, push back up to plank 1min 30 sec, downward dog 1 min.

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Renee K May 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

So, I planked! Sheesh, 30 seconds was hard enough! I was feeling strong till everything started hurting and shaking a bit LOL

I really like the style of exercise and could feel my abs getting a good work out. Which they need! Must keep up the planking :)

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Sherry M May 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I’ve been surprised to see, that even though I am still doing the squats, I am getting a much rounder bottom by doing the planks every other day. Hmmm, who knew!?

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Sherry M May 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I’m still planking (and squatting, dry brushing, and oil pulling)! My core is MUCH stronger now…..I am holding for three minutes, then go into other positions, then 1 1/2 minute plank, other positions etc. I am very pleased with this. My back is so much better!

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Sherry M June 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

This was another awesome challenge that was of great benefit! Thanks for the nudge!

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lydia June 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Glad you enjoyed it Sherry! You have been a trooper! AND YOU ARE THE LUCKY WINNER THIS MONTH!

Be sure to contact me by June 4th to claim your gift @ DIVINEHEALTHFROMTHEINSIDEOUT@GMAIL.COM

Reply

Sherry M June 3, 2012 at 1:23 am

Thanks Lydia! I LOVE being a winner! I sent an email to you!

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