7 Ways to Progressively Advance Your Plank + Life Update/Thoughts
I actually had this post ready to go for yesterday morning, but then on Monday night I received an email from Lindsay. In it she asked me to join her and many other bloggers in a day of blogging silence. To step away from the scheduled posting and social media in order to both honor the victims and those affected by Friday’s tragedy, and to celebrate loved ones around us. I thought it was a unique way to honor Sandy Hook, so I obliged.
Did everyone have a good weekend? Ours was extremely low key – we basically stayed in and packed for the entire 48 hours, but hey, we’re making a lot of progress!
Actually, I think the only time I left the house on Saturday, was to go to yoga class, where the (very large) class did its own form of honoring the Sandy Hook victims. We started and ended the class by sending any healing we received (aka, I prayed) through practice to the victims and family of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting. I felt a really powerful vibe in the room – so much that I found myself tearing up. I can’t even put my feelings about it into words. I’ve tried, and they’re not for-the-public-appropriate, and involve profanities.
On a more positive note, although we barely left the house, we did get to see some friends who we sold our elliptical to (tear I’m going to miss that thing!) as well as spent the evening with some very close friends who brought us pizza and wine (so sweet!) playing euchre and eating and drinking said pizza and wine.
Oh, I also made a lot of meals in, and realized I effing love ground lamb:
Especially when it’s in a coconut curry sauce with butternut squash.
I’m sad it’s gone now
And now here we are back to
Monday Tuesday. Yesterday was officially my last “full working day” here in Normal. Now I’m just training a couple clients here and there before we take off and move to Colorado in a couple weeks. Since we’re going to Florida for a week before we go, I figured it’d be hectic enough traveling, packing, and wrapping things up. Don’t worry, I plan to blog semi-regularly amongst the chaos and fun
The last time we were on the beach we’re headed to in FL was for our wedding more than 4 years ago. It’s going to bring back SO many memories!
Ok, ok. Enough rambling! Let’s talk planks.
Ask any of my clients what my favorite ab exercise is and every single one will tell you some variation of a plank. Crunches are not only extremely overrated, but they can also be very bad for the back, as flexing the spine over and over and over again can lead to damage of the lumbar spinae. They’re also a completely unilateral exercise, which can lead to muscle imbalances. The key is to train the entire core.
Enter, the plank:
Although the core gets a lot of attention naturally in most compound exercises (deadlifts, squats, pushups, pull ups, etc.) planks are a great way to build up the core muscles to even further support these lifts. However, regular planks can get kind of boring, and honestly, I’ve never held a plank for longer than 90 seconds without being bored out of my mind. Instead of adding seconds upon minutes upon minutes to your plank each week to make it more advanced, try these plank progressions!
7 Week Plank Progressions
As always, please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program!
Week 1. Plank w/ Knee Raises: Grab a stopwatch or timer. In a plank position, with your abs held tight, shoulders over elbows, and body in one, straight, strong line. Hold the plank for 10 seconds. Drop the knees and rest for 5. Repeat this sequence 5 times through on day 1. Add 2-3 more 15 second sequences 2 more days this week.
Week 2. Elevated Plank: Rest your forearms on a bench or sturdy surface, in plank position. Hold the plank for 30 seconds. Add 20 seconds each day, two more days this week.
Week 3. Elevated Plank on Stability Ball: In a plank position, place your forearms on a stability ball and hold your plank for 20 seconds. Add 10-15 seconds each day, two more days this week.
Week 4. Plank and Reach: Get in a basic forearm plank position. On day one, reach one arm out for a count, and then switch, 10 reps on each side. On day two, from a plank position, lift one leg a couple inches off the ground for a count. Switch sides and complete 10 lifts on each side. On day 3, simultaneously lift your L leg and reach your R arm out in front of you for a count, and switch, repeating 10 times on each side. You can also do this in a high plank position.
Week 5. Feet-elevated Plank: Place your toes on a stability ball, and rise up into a high plank, with your shoulders directly over your wrists. Hold for as long as you can all three days this week.
Week 6. Stability-Ball Plank w/ Knee Raises: Place your hands on a stability ball, directly under your shoulders. Get your balance first, then slowly and with control, raise your toward your chest. Switch sides, repeating 10-12 on each side. If this is too difficult, start with the ball pressed up against a wall.
Week 7. 3-Point Feet-elevated Plank: Ahh. I love/hate this one! Get into the same plank position as week 5. Now lift one of your legs a few inches in the air. Hold for as long as you can, and then switch. If this is too difficult at first, start with the ball pressed against a wall.
Gotta jet! Clients to train (which will be sad to leave some today!!)
What’s your favorite plank variation?