Ever year it never seems to fail. People want to make those positive life changes and January usually becomes the magic month for change. There’s something magical about a brand new year, with all its brand new potential that prompts people to make a resolution to better themselves in some way. My question is, WHY WAIT until the new year to make that change? Any day is a chance to start anew! So I challenge you, my Athleta community, to take the 30-day plank challenge! Maybe some of you have already seen or even participated in a 30-day plank challenge.
The 30-day plank challenge is a doable challenge that is designed to take you from a 20 second plank starting point, to an all out, no holds barred, I KID YOU NOT, five minute plank, in 30 days.
But wait, there’s more! For just 30-days of your time and no shipping and handling, you’ll also receive a stronger back and core! Don’t believe me -– just ask Kelley Heye about the benefits of planking. As Kelley posted in her blog, “…the plank is the best core-strengthening exercise on earth.” It’s a great tool in improving core strength and stability.
When I was introduced to the 30-day plank challenge, I learned that planking is a popular element of isometric training -– contracting your muscles against stationary resistance. It’s a great way to hit multiple muscles at once: upper abs, lower abs, obliques, and lower back!
I will share with you all a helpful hint I learned while planking: DISTRACTING YOURSELF IS KEY. The seconds listed may not seem like a lot, but they seem to tick SLOWER than minutes in a pro football game while you’re down in plank position. My suggestion to you is to distract yourself with something, rather than watch the seconds tick slowly away.
To distract myself, I plopped my cell phone on the floor and thumbed through Facebook. My girlfriend, who turned her plank challenge into a family challenge, planked with her little ones. They passed the time by taking turns telling each other the best or funniest thing about their day. She said that planking had become their family bonding time. HOWEVER, she did note that the funny story aspect added an additional challenge of trying to hold the plank while laughing.
Another helpful hint: Get friends involved! I loved the idea of the plank challenge so much that I created a Facebook page. Before I knew it, there were 42 people planking nationwide. The only requirement was that members post “done” on our group page when their day’s planking was complete. The “done” not only held them accountable, but when it popped into the feed of the other plank page members, it served as a good reminder to them to get their planking in.
A third helpful hint: Make sure you don’t allow your back to sway — as if your stomach is about to touch the ground. As the seconds grew longer, many friends found it harder to hold themselves in plank position as they complained of “feeling it in their backs.” When I looked at my friend’s form, I noticed a HUGE sway in his back. Work on keeping your butt out of the air, and your back as straight as possible.
So there you have it –- a fun new tool to help craft a new you that you can use RIGHT.THIS.VERY.INSTANT with no need of waiting until January. Be sure to check out Athleta’s selection of workout clothes to start with your best foot forward. Happy planking!