I’m on a quest to have visible abs, and of course I know the idea that they’re made in the kitchen, and it’s so much harder to burn them off, but that didn’t stop me from adding weird stuff and wonderful exercises to my daily routine. I started with 30 sit-ups a day for 30 daysso i tried 100 dead insects per day for a week, and now I’ve moved on to the boards. Do I still have a rock-solid core? Well, see what happened when I tried to add a plank to my routine.
Lucky for me, you don’t have to hold a plank for as long as you think to get results – researcher suggests just hold the movement for 10 seconds to work your core. A plank is an isometric exercise, designed to build strength while still, as your body works against gravity to hold the pose.
Let’s start by talking about form. Your position during the plank is imperative for both your spine health and your abs results. In order to get into the plank position properly, start in a press-up position, with your arms placed slightly wider than your shoulders and your body weight resting on your hands flat on the floor or on your forearms, depending on which variation you opt for. Consider creating a straight line between your heels and the top of your head, engaging your core.
It’s also worth noting that what works for my body may not work for yours, and it’s a good idea to consult your doctor or personal trainer if you’re embarking on a new exercise routine. I consider myself to be relatively fit, and my normal fitness routine includes four runs a week, about 20 miles in total, and three weight training sessions, including weights and Pilates.
I Did A Plank Every Morning For A Week – Here’s What Happened
The week before this challenge, I had 100 dead bugs almost every morning (here’s how to make a dead bug with perfect form) so I had gotten a bit used to starting my day with some sort of abs-based torture. I started the challenge with a one-minute plank, which felt like enough to get my inner abs shaking, without me compromising my form and arching my back.
Days two and three I increased the plank by 10 seconds each day as a personal challenge. As I have sciatica, I did the exercise in front of a mirror to make sure I was keeping my hips in the correct position – if your hips are too high, you’ll make the plank easier by relieving some core tension. , and if they’re too low, you can put too much pressure on your lower back.
Planks are an integral part of my workout routine, but doing them every day forced me to really think about my technique – sucking my stomach muscles into my spine and engaging my glutes in the plank.
On the fourth day, I realized as I was going to bed that I hadn’t done my plank yet because I had been in the office all day. With a roll of my eyes, I did a 1 minute and 30 second plank in my pajamas with my energetic Cocker Spaniel trying to crawl under my stomach for an extra basic workout. It’s a glamorous life I lead.
For days 5 and 6 I decided to mix things up by adding some movement to the plank – I reduced the timer to one minute but added some rocking motions – rocking my body weight back and forth and hips, dropping one hip to the floor and then the other side, to intensify the movement. These definitely forced me to work harder, and I will be adding them to my core workouts in the future.
And then finally, I was on the seventh day. For the last day of my challenge, I set the timer for 2 minutes and ignored my shaking core for the longest 120 seconds of my life.
The lessons learned after a week of boards? Of course, I didn’t get off my yoga mat with a six-pack, as we’ve already mentioned, defined abdominal muscles depend on a low body fat percentage. (Here is how to calculate your body fat percentage.) But I felt like my heart was strong enough.
Similar to my dead bug challenge, I also found the daily plank helped me better engage my core while running, during Pilates class, or just walking the dog. While it might sound like something a fitness instructor shouts for fun, keeping your core engaged really boosts your performance and helps you run, walk, and train with better posture.
On a personal level, I’ve found the dead bugs to be gentler on my lower back than the planks, but I’ll keep them in my routine going forward. What’s the next ab challenge I hear you ask? Watch this place.
Looking for more workout inspiration? Here’s what happened when I Tried Carrie Underwood’s Leg Workoutand the $20 purchase on Amazon that made my abs workouts more intense.