Day 9 - Physical
Going back to the “less is more” theme, I present today’s physical fitness all-star: the plank. Trending in fitness blogs and magazines, the plank is all about taking it back to the basics. A fundamental with the strength to tighten and tone.
So why is this simple movement ranking as a favorite among the fit of the fit? Mainly for its powerful core strengthening abilities that bridge the gap between you and that ever elusive six-pack. But progressing towards your perfect physique doesn’t just stop there. Just because you’re not doing any active movement while completing this exercise doesn’t mean the muscle activation isn’t going full body. Stay propped up on those elbows there, Superman, because neck, shoulders, biceps, bottom, thighs, calf, chest and lower back are all engaged while simply holding your own body weight off the floor. You can also expect some super benefits, including the following, when tapping the power of the plank:
- A toned belly
- Reduced back pain
- Improved mood
- Improved balance and posture
Not too shabby considering it’s something you can drop down and do right now. (Really, like right now... You know where this is going). No special equipment, clothing or cost needed! All while giving your body benefits far beyond those you’ll obtain doing countless crunches on the floor.
As in all fitness activities, appropriate form will either make or break your outcome (and possibly your body!). I know, I know. You’re thinking, “How hard could it be?” Humor me. Watch the follow 2 minute video explaining how to plank appropriately. Don’t spin your wheels by skipping this step. Two minutes is a small investment to make to get the traction you need to really take off.
Partner planking. It’s a new sport. I just invented it… and it’s about to bring “love” back into the same sentence as “exercise”.
Pick a spot on the floor with your partner where you can both plank, face-to-face, close enough to touch (yep, this is about to get good). Grab your phone or a timer and lay it face up between the two of you. Now get both those bods off the ground into your appropriate plank position (because you invested the 2 very important minutes to watch the video, right?). Start the timer.
Once the first 10 seconds roll by, you’ve earned your first reward. Keep that body up but plant a kiss on your sweetie. I’ll let you decide how many seconds you’d like to tick by engaged in this extra-curricular cardio exercise. After another 10 seconds? Another smack-a-roo for the both of you. How many kisses can you get in before gravity wins out? It’s a companion competition, a body battle, partner planking… you two vs. the floor as you strengthen both your body and your relationship core!
Bonus Tip: Planks are easy peasy to incorporate into anyone’s day. My coworkers and I bust them out twice daily on breaks or sometimes as a pick-me-up after that afternoon slump. I like to get one done before hitting the hay after a busy day or even compete against those boring commercials to see who will end first. Get creative and share with us your favorite time and place to pull out the plank!
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[jbox title="About the Author:" border="5" radius="15"] Megan is a Doctor of Audiology, Holistic Nutritionist, wife, yoga-lover and ever-evolving health aspirer. Having transformed her own health, she’s eager to help you transform yours. She believes in power in its purest form: FOOD. Whole foods, to be precise. So pick up a fork and join her in a revolution of habits, health and happiness. A WHOLE new life awaits! Read more about her reformation of health and wellness at My Whole Food Habit.[/jbox]