April Plank Challenge!
Take part in our challenge by performing a 60 second plank every day from April 1- April 30 for a chance to win a Jawbone UP 24 Fitness Tracker! Just perform any kind of plank for 1 minute every day. Record it daily on our website. Everyone who completes a minimum of 25 out of 30 days of planking will be entered into the drawing. You’ll improve your core strength and just maybe win a cool prize for doing it!
Fitness Tip of the Month – Tips and Variations for Planks!
The Plank- What it is!!
The plank is a balance and core conditioning exercise. There are two major types of planks, the full plank, where you balance on both arms and both feet, and the side plank, where you balance on one arm and the side of one foot. A less advanced plank can also be done from the knees or with straight arms(push up position). Many other variations of the plank are also possible.
How to Perform It!
Get into pushup position on the floor.
Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Do not allow your hips and lower back to sag towards the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles as tight as possible to reduce the risk of overstressing your back muscles. The side plank is the same as the full plank but you will be supporting yourself with one forearm and your ankles should be stacked on top of each other.
Static Full Plank
The static plank is a great way to increase your muscular endurance of your core muscles. The muscles being used during a plank are many. They include but are not limited to the calves, hip flexors, all your abdominal muscles, quadriceps, triceps, forearm muscles, chest muscles, shoulders muscles, back muscles and neck muscles. It really does require most of the muscles within your body. The better your total body functions the easier the plank will be.
Performing a static plank is great, but a dynamic plank is much more beneficial to increasing your overall strength and functionality. Why is this? Sport is about moving and controlling your body as stresses are placed upon it. These stresses could be hitting a tennis ball, changing direction while running, jumping for an overhead, or lunging for a line drive. These movements are usually being performed with 1 or zero points of contact to the ground. The static plank is great for endurance but adding movement to your plank will challenge your system more true to movements.
Below are some movements that you can add to your plank to challenge your body to stabilize and control it against the forces of gravity. These movements are not easy so be extremely careful when attempting them and be sure to keep your abdominals engaged and tightened throughout the movement.
Plank with a single arm reach overhead reach – either alternating or repeating the same side
Plank with a leg lift towards the ceiling
Plank and bringing your knee towards your chest
Plank with a rotational reach towards the ceiling
Plank with a leg lift to the side
Side Plank with leg lift
Side Plank with the arm reaching away from the body (punching motion)
Side Plank with the arm rotating towards the ceiling
Once you can perform a static plank for 1 minute without any lower back pain you can progress to the dynamic planks. Always remember while exercising to be certain you can perform the basic movements before attempting the advanced movements. Getting hurt while exercising is the last think you want to do!
Tips for Holding a Plank for 1 Minute or Longer
- If you are unable to hold a plank for 20 seconds start with a straight arm plank (Push up Positon).
- When you can successfully hold a straight arm plank for 1 minute increase it to 3 sets of 1 minute. (Rest for 1 minute in between sets)
- Now you are ready for a static plank for as long as you can. Hold it for a long as you can for 4-6 times right after each one with a 1 minute rest in between each plank. In no time at all you will be up to 1 minute planks!
- Do a plank every day.
- Turn the stop watch over so you can’t see it.
- Read a magazine article or your tablet.
- Countdown backwards in your head really slowly.
- Listen to your favorite music. The average song lasts just under 4 minutes.