The plank is an excellent isometric exercise, it requires core stabilizers to fire to maintain body & spinal alignment.
This challenge is staggered & progressively increases in time throughout the month. You'll end up holding a plank for 2 minutes which is enough for most of us, any more is likely to cause undue stress and not likely to be any more effective. If you find the plank exercise easy, increase intensity by adding instability by placing you feet on a BOSU or balance pod or feet or arms on a fitness ball etc. Get creative and up the intensity.
Total Plank time of over 31 minutes which is still shy of the world record for holding an Abdominal Plank Position as recorded by the Guinness Book of Records. The record at date of publication is held by MAO WEIDONG (CHINA), who made it to a staggering 4 hours 26 minutes in Beijing, China on 26 September 2014. See the record on the Official Guinness Word Records site.
Before you start the challenge
This challenge is progressive and you should notice some gains throughout the month. To start off you should test your current core strength with a Plank test. This simple test will give you an idea of where you are now, this can be compared when conducting the same test at the end of the challenge. The result from the test will help you choose the plank variation to do during the challenge.
To conduct the test:
- Have a stop watch ready or a friend with a stopwatch.
- Get into the plank position.
- Hold the plank for as long as you can.
- Stop the test when you fail or you reach 2 minutes.
Choose the Plank variation based on your initial Plank Test result
- Under 30 seconds - Choose the Beginner variation (Half Plank).
- 30 seconds up to 1 minute 30 seconds - Choose the regular or alternative plank variations.
- 1 minute 30 seconds and above - Choose the Plank/Up Down variation for a dynamic plank. Alternatively you could use an unstable platform such as a BOSU, Balance Pod or Fitness Ball and place your feet upon them creating a more demanding static Plank exercise.
Test your progress with a follow up Plank Test at the end of the month
After a month of regular planking, you should be feeling stronger with more endurance in your core and stabilizing muscles. To find out how you have improved, repeat the test you conducted at the start of the month. The test should be exactly the same conditions, same plank variation etc.
Plank Challenge Target Guide #Plankawaychallenge
Download the plank time targets for each day of January, pin to your fridge and hit those plank times.
Kiss Fitness Plankawayjanuary Challenge Traget Guide
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The Plank Exercise
- Keep neutral spine alignment
- Maintain straight line through shoulders, hips, knees & ankles
- Maintain abdominal tension
- Remember to breath
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Challenge yourself this January and don't forget to join in the conversation with hash tag #plankAwayJanuary