Planking is my new favorite thing…

Have you guys heard of/ seen planking? It’s f’ing hilarious. Apparently it’s been big in Australia for quite some time. I just saw a photo album of kids doing it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and since then it’s like I’ve seen something about it every day. All you do is lie down (preferably in a random place) in a plank position with your arms by your side and your face down, body straight as a board. Then you take a photo of it and post it online for the whole world to see.

Doesn’t sound funny, but it totally is… Soooo last week, at a dinner at my roomie’s grandparents’ house, we decided to take some planking photos ourselves. Viola!
Me first on the balcony ledge:
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Then my roomie, Tamara on the handrail:
(which is about an inch wide. she’s hardcore.)
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Then me, her, Robbie, and Thomas on the stairs:
(my fave)
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Then lastly, me on Tamara’s grandmother’s birdbath:
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Oh yeah.
Don’t be an idiot about planking though.
#1. Don’t do it on a cop car. You’ll get arrested. Duh. (Happened)
#2. Don’t do it on anything extremely small/sharp. You’ll get impaled. (Happened)
#3. Don’t do it on anything unsturdy. You’ll break it/yourself. (Happened)
#4. For heaven’s sake, don’t do it on the balcony ledge on a 13th story apartment. You’ll fall and die. (Happened. I saw the news link. Thanks, Mick)
*None of these happened to us, just read that they happened on the internet… so they must be true.
And because this is a fitness blog (sometimes), you can get some muscular strength from planking! Regular planks, where you hold yourself up off the floor by your arms work the anterior (front) side of your body; abs, obliques, etc.. This kind of planking though works the posterior (back) side of your body; spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings, etc. So plank and hold it for about 30-60 seconds while you’re taking photos. : )
You can check out the 60 Best Planks here. #s 36 and 56 are my faves.
Have you planked?! Got any funny photos of it? Please send to me if you do! fitwithflash@gmail.com
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Plankety Planks

How do you know if you’ve got good core strength? If you can hold a plank for more than a minute. Hate planks? If you do, it’s probably because you suck at them, or they hurt your back. I know I’ve hated lots of things, but once I got better at them, I LOVED them. You should learn to love your planks, they’re good for you! Start holding a plank for 30 seconds and see how it feels.

“But I do 1,000 crunches every day.”
Yeah weeeeeeeell if you can do 1,000 crunches but can’t hold a plank for 45 seconds, chances are, you’re doing your crunches wrong because they aren’t helping your actual abdominal strength. Don’t feel bad, most people do crunches wrong. Don’t sweat it. Plank it. These can be done on your hands or your elbows (I do mine on my elbows since I have a wrist issue).
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“But planks hurt my back.”
Again, if you’re in pain (especially in the lower back) you’re most likely a) doing them incorrectly or b) not strong enough for a full plank yet. Do a plank in front of a mirror and don’t let your lower back dip down below your hips!
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“Well if I’m not strong enough how the HECK do I get started?!”
You start with a modified plank, with your knees on the ground. When those get easy, you move up to a regular plank.
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If 30 seconds seemed like an eternity or you were shakin’ like a polaroid picture, stick with that time length. If 30 seconds was a piece of cake, bump your next one up to 45 seconds, 60 seconds, etc. Once this time starts to feel easy, you’re ready to bump up your time another 15 seconds. Do these once or twice a day. You’ll get better at them quickly!
Tips:
* Keep your elbows under your shoulders.
*Keep your abs tight, so your back doesn’t dip down.
*Don’t stop breathing. Holding your breath doesn’t help.
* Do these once or twice a day. You’ll get better at them quickly!
*Added Bonus: Isometric exercises (ones in which your muscle is contracting but not shortening or lengthening) help to sculpt muscle. So get going with your planks before swimsuit season hits!
Plank Challenge: 2 minute plank. Get after it!
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