Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Things I've Learned from My Plank A Day Challenge

Thanks to a bunch of folks on Twitter that I follow, I decided at the beginning of July that I was going to take part in a Plank A Day challenge for the month.  The goal was to do a plank a day and gradually increase my time until I could hold it for 5:00 minutes straight.  While I failed miserably at holding a solid plank for 5:00 minutes straight, I was able to do a plank circuit for that amount of time.  I worked my way up to 6:30.  Man was that hard.  On a good day I can now hold a plank for 2:30-2:45 and I started at being able to hold it for 2:00.  So that's a good improvement. 
Much to my chagrin, I didn't quite make the full month.  I missed *one* day.  One. Stinking.  Day.  And why?  Because I got sucked into the black hole of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and completely forgot about my plank.  I woke up at 2:00 am that night and thought Crap, I can't believe I forgot to plank!  I was seriously tempted to get up and do it but I was having such a good sleep that I didn't want to disrupt it with a plank.  So I rolled over and went back to sleep.  Such is life.  I still made 30 out of 31 days and that's nothing to sneeze at.

I knew that by the end of 31 days, my core would be a lot stronger.  But there were some other surprising things I learned along the way. 

1.  I actually really enjoy planking.

2.  Planking is best done before you do any other workout, especially a swim workout or any sort of upper body workout.  Unless of course you're Wonder Woman.  Then you can do anything.

3.  My core is stronger than my upper body.  I found that my arms would give out sooner than my abdominal muscles.

4.  Child's pose feels like heaven after a good solid plank.

5.   I can pull of a 5:30 plank circuit after a burger, fries and a pint of beer.  I wouldn't recommend it unless you really enjoyed your dinner so much so that you want to taste it again.

6.  Side planks have worked wonders for my obliques. 

7.  I enjoy planking so much that I will probably continue to do it.  Maybe not every day but certainly on a regular basis and definitely not after a burger, fries and a pint of beer.

 Did you do YOUR plank today?

Did you follow along on twitter and if so, did your plank time improve over the last month?

(photo credit: Suanie  Image is subject to a creative commons attribution license)


John Bergquist said...

Good job! You did better than me...I came into the challenge late and missed several days.

Phaedra Kennedy said...

Thanks John! I was so close too. Ah well. I may try it again in September. :)

Katie @wishandwhimsy said...

Love that you reflected on this. I agree about the side planks...I definitely feel (and see a difference!) Here's to August successes!

Kate said...

I do do my plank a day! Good to find a fellow planker. You cracked me up with the visual of you waking up and going 'I forgot my plank!' in the middle of the night ;-).

I'm interested in your advice to do the plank before other exercise. I guess it make sense to get your core firing before you use it, but personally, I get stomach pain if I do it, so I always have to do my core work after my running and jumping. Silly body.

Jan said...

A bit off topic but is it weird that I thought of you when I noticed today that one of my toenails is black? LOL

Phaedra Kennedy said...

Katie - I am definitely going to keep up the planks. I've actually noticed a big change in my core, especially around my obliques. All the support from you guys on twitter was a HUGE help.

Phaedra Kennedy said...

I found it easier to do my plank before I did any upper body work, that way my arms and shoulders weren't already tired. I *should* have actually tried to do it before my swim workouts but that never happened. I found that if I swam in the morning and did my plank in the evening, my upper body would still be fatigued from the swim, especially if it was a hard one so I was never able to hold my planks as long as I could on the days I didn't swim.

Phaedra Kennedy said...

HA HA HA HA!!! That is pure awesomeness! Not that your toenail is black but that you thought of me.....love it!