We’re home. We’re soft (we meaning me). We need to care for our bodies as well as our minds and hearts. The most efficient way to do that, without a machine or set of fancy colored weights? Planking everyday.
Holding a plank. I started trying this as soon as my poor little knee would hold my body weight. There are lots of “programs” you could follow to build your planking prowess: 30 Days of Planks, Plank for 5 Minutes or simply the One-Minute Plank Everyday (forever). The benefits of planking are myriad, pretty much, and it’s something you can do anywhere. You can mix it into your neighborhood walk/run, you can do it each morning in your bedroom or bathroom – it’s so user-friendly to begin, it’s hard to talk yourself out of it.
Until you get into one. Then it’s real easy. Since holding a plank works almost every muscle in your body, you’ll be intimately aware of all. of. them. at about second 3.2. If you’re lucky, second 3.78.
Planks are great for improving just about everything we care about physically. Core strength and definition. Body posture. Arm strength and mobility. Improved flexibility, balance (declines as we age, unless we practice it) and metabolism. All without weights, gyms or machines. Yes, please.
When I taught and took Pure Barre classes, the plank was a basic piece of every class’ WARM UP. Yep, the warm up you thought would kill you. The warm up you knew you wouldn’t survive, especially when you realized it was just. the. warm up. The plank in the classic Pure Barre class lasts 90 seconds. You practice all kinds of mental distraction while sweating and shaking and swearing through this, praying to all the gods in heaven that the teacher shows mercy and cuts it by, oh, a full minute? That “Final Ten” second countdown is the answer to all your prayers in life, and you swear you’ll name your first baby after her if she’ll count by twos.
That’s a plank. So take a deep breath, do another if you’re already a pro, and if you’re not, just try it for 10 seconds. Stay engaged but relaxed (I honestly have no idea how to do this.). Then build by 5 seconds each day. Until you can hold it for one solid, breathtaking minute.
Let’s do that, everyday, until we can’t.