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Talking the Plank

As with this blog, I’m also a Twitter newbie and still trying to figure out how it works.  But each day, I’m recognizing its value more and more- although I can see how you could waste your life away on it, checking out all the interesting (and sometimes weird) posts.

Yesterday, I stumbled across #plankaday, which caught my attention because I’ve totally become a plank devotee in the last year.  Like pretty much everyone I know, I always hated crunches and ab work.  They are just so tedious and take forever to do if you actually want to see some improvement.  But I’ve also always had lower back issues, even when I was kid.  I know it’s related to a weak core.  I really wanted to figure out a way to stop it before it just deteriorated.

Luckily, the Washington Post had an article about how the plank was the new ‘in’ abs activity.  I was familiar with plank from yoga, but had no idea that it was also a great core exercise.  I quickly realized that I was very lazy with my plank during yoga- my abs never broke a sweat.

When I saw how enthusiastically all these experts endorsed it, AND that it only takes a few minutes to be effective, I knew I had to try it.  I’ve stuck with it, and it’s an integral part of weekly routine now.  I have noticed a HUGE difference in my ability to run better, stronger and more comfortably.  My lower back pain has significantly lessened.  And while I don’t have a super toned stomach, it’s much flatter than it was- and let’s face it, I really only do planks twice a week.

Until now! So the whole idea behind #plankaday is just as it sounds- do one plank, every day.  That’s it! It only takes a minute (or less if you’re just starting).  I know I’m going to try it out- today I did I bunch of planks at yoga, so that was easy, but I am going to try to incorporate it somehow every day, on top of my twice weekly routine that currently consists of three sets, one regular plank and side planks on each side.  I can only get stronger, right?

I guess not everyone loves planks, as this funny blogger states while also providing great examples of plank exercises.  I’m not going to lie- it’s a deceptively hard exercise.  You’ll sweat, shake and turn red in the face if you’re doing it correctly.  I think I love it because it is efficient- minimal time and equipment is required, and you do get results.  So, I highly recommend it if you’re looking to strengthen your core but don’t want to slog through hundreds of mind-numbing crunches.

In running related news- had a great yoga/pilates class this morning, followed by a mediocre afternoon run on the Mall.  My body actually felt really good.  It was the weather- what started off as a freakishly mild rainy day devolved into supremely windy with a nasty windchill factor.  Let’s just say, my T-shirt and shorts wasn’t appropriate.

False alarm, gear- back to the drawer until actual spring

But it was meant to just be a few easy miles to prepare for tomorrow’s 8 miler, so it was perfectly adequate for that purpose.


15 responses »

  1. You could waste a lot of time on blogs…

    A lot of good information on this site


  2. Interesting post I already do my own “pressupsaday” thing like the plankaday thing so I’m going to start today.

  3. Cool! Thanks for posting and linking this! I had no idea that planking was good for core either, and I HATE doing crunches (as my flabby tummy can attest to). I’m going to give it a whirl. I love Twitter too. I’m mainly a reader though, don’t post much.

    • I’m glad you liked it- it’s amazing what the most basic moves are capable of, isn’t it? Be sure to find some more authoritative info on how to do plank properly to make sure that you reap the benefits- meaning if you think it’s easy the first time you do it, you’re not doing it right. I had to learn that at the beginning!

  4. I also love planks, and your blog! Do you still have low back issues, if so do you see a chiropractor? I have been and he gave me some great low back exercises (one of which is a modified side plank) that I am planning to share on my blog later! Feel free to check it out, and also keep at those planks they are so effective!

    • Thanks so much for the compliment! My back issues are pretty much resolved, so it seems. I used to persistently have minor back aches and problems with my scatica. Since taking up running and strength training, it has been much, much less. I can’t say it is gone completely, because I do find that if I sit on a soft surface (i.e. our leather couch) for an excessive amount of time, that will irritate the nerve and cause some discomfort until I ice it sufficiently. But it doesn’t seem to act up for no reason anymore, and that I credit my exercise with. I haven’t visited a chiropractor to date, because I knew deep down it was a result of mu laziness and not a deeper back issue. I never ruled it out though, and those exercises in your blog that yours gave you do look very helpful.

  5. I found plankaday on Twitter as well! Reading your blog has motivated me into doing it! I have always found planks to be scary and difficult but I think it is time I just did it!
    I have had problems with low back for some time but since I have taken up running and do low back yoga stretches it seems to have really helped and maybe the plank a day will too!


    • I’m so glad you want to take the plunge, that’s what I was hoping this would encourage people to do. It’s not easy, but nothing that really makes a difference ever is. And I agree that running and yoga are also both very helpful in minimizing my discomfort too- just goes to show you that simply being active often cures whatever ails you.

  6. Thanks for joining #plankaday! The camraderie of the group is very motivating! I posted your post on the PlankADay Facebook page, so check it out!

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