If you want a genuinely useful exercise that doesn’t require you to move around wildly, you’ll love this one. It’s tough, so I can’t say you won’t be huffing and puffing.
But it’s also easy to do, and you can do it even when you’re visiting Aunt Jane, as long as you have your own room, and no one will be the wiser. By devoting just five minutes each day to this exercise, you’ll get amazing results.
Get into Position
The positioning of your body is the most important part of the exercise. You’ll be in what looks like a modified push-up position with your weight balanced on your toes and forearms.
To get into this position, you’ll bend your arms at your elbow with your elbows directly under the shoulders. Your body will be prone, parallel to the floor and elevated slightly above the ground allowing only the toes and forearms to touch and remaining perfectly still.
This position puts stress on some muscles, which include the back, buttocks, stomach, arms, and hands. It’s called “the plank” because your body should look like a straight plank balanced on your forearms and toes and while it doesn’t require any movement it’s tough to do. The object of the exercise is to remain in a static position.
The Static Exercise
In fact, it’s called a static exercise, which is also known as an isometric exercise. You’ll be using your hands and feet to keep your body “floating” above the floor. While it’s easy to learn, doing it for a full five minutes isn’t that easy, so you can start with as short as ten seconds and work your way up to five minutes.
Here’s the Challenge
Gradually, you need to build up your stamina so you simply start out in the plank position for 20 seconds. Once you’ll get the hang of planking, you will be able to plank for 4 minutes during the final days. The Plank Challenge must be completed in four weeks by following this 28-day plan:
Day 1 – 20 seconds
Day 2 – 20 seconds
Day 3 – 30 seconds
Day 4 – 30 seconds
Day 5 – 40 seconds
Day 6 – Rest
Day 7 – 45 seconds
Day 8 – 45 seconds
Day 9 – 60 seconds
Day 10 – 60 seconds
Day 11 – 60 seconds
Day 12 – 90 seconds
Day 13 – Rest
Day 14 – 90 seconds
Day 15 – 90 seconds
Day 16 – 120 seconds
Day 17 – 120 seconds
Day 18 – 150 seconds
Day 19 – Rest
Day 20 – 150 seconds
Day 21 – 150 seconds
Day 22 – 180 seconds
Day 23 – 180 seconds
Day 24 – 210 seconds
Day 25 – Rest
Day 26 – 210 seconds
Day 27 – 240 seconds
Day 28 – Until failure
The Proper Position
The proper positioning of the body is the most important. Make sure your neck and spine are neutral and that you have a straight line from your heels to your head.
Check These Points to Ensure you’re Doing the Exercise Properly, Form is Everything.
Feet should be kept together with the toes bent flat on the floor and the soles perpendicular to the floor.
Legs should be held straight, putting the pressure on the abs and relieving any pressure from the spine.
Glutes, muscles in your bottom, should be tight and stretched. In order to do this exercise properly you shouldn’t relax them until after the exercise ends.
④ Lower Back
Lower back muscles should remain flat,not arched or curved. Pretend it’s against a flat wall.
The stomach should be tucked in tightly. You’ll hold it in firmly but won’t hold your breath during the exercise, that’s counterproductive.
Elbows need to be directly under the shoulder so the forearm gets all the pressure, not the shoulder joints.
It’s important not to overdo when you first start. Overdoing means doing the exercise too long at the expense of your form. People who first start this may do anywhere from 10 seconds of holding to two minutes, based on physical ability. Consistency is important so take the time to do it once a day.
Here’s the Planking Does to Your Body:
- Toned Butt – If you’ve always wanted a firm toned backside, smooth tight thighs and less cellulite, the plank will help you accomplish that goal.
- Strong Back – It strengthens the back from the neck and shoulders to the lower back muscles. It can help relieve pain in the shoulder blades that can occur when you sit too long.
- Nice Feet – Your feet will look better too, since it increases circulation due to the weight on the feet.
- Stretched Hands – You’ll have prettier hands, since their working out too and a flat stomach from the exercise caused by the body weight triggering a tightening of the abdominal muscles.
- Flat Tummy – You’ll also be exercising all muscles from the waist down. If you feel a burning sensation in some of your muscles, it means the exercise is working.
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