March 4, 2015

Plank A Day Challenge

Back-tracking a little, in January, I did my first do-something-every-day challenge. My internet friend Laura challenged all of her Instagram followers to do a plank every day for a month. Challenge accepted! Strength training, particularly core work, is a key part of triathlon training. You need a strong core to sit on a bike for four hours.

Here's the day-by-day of how it went down.

Jan. 1 - 1:35
Jan. 2 - 1:40
Jan. 3 - 1:45
Jan. 4 - 1:50
Jan. 5 - 1:55
Jan. 6 - forgot!
Jan. 7 - 1:00 (lot of planks in AM strength class)
Jan. 8 - 2:00
Jan. 9 - 2:05
Jan. 10 - 1:30 (arms extended)
Jan. 11 - 2:05
Jan. 12 - 2:10
Jan. 13 - 2:15
Jan. 14 - forgot
Jan. 15 - 2:20
Jan. 16 - 2:25
Jan. 17 - 2:30*
Jan. 18 - 2:00
Jan. 19 - forgot
Jan. 20 - 2:45
Jan. 21 - 2:50
Jan. 22 - 3:00
Jan. 23 - 3:15
Jan. 24 - 3:30
Jan. 25 - 3:35
Jan. 26 - 3:40
Jan. 27 - 3:50
Jan. 28 - planks in AM strength class
Jan. 29 - 4:00
Jan. 30 - 4:15
Jan. 31 - 4:30

*I did that one sauced in the middle of John's birthday party. True story.

This was an impromptu decision I made scrolling Instagram one night, so I didn't go to Pinterest looking for plans. I just decided to see how long I could hold it the first time and then increase by five seconds a day. In the last week, I wanted to shoot for a solid five minutes, so I started increasing by 15-30 seconds.

The trick is to do the plank while listening to music. Once I figured that out, it became a lot easier. My go-to plank song is "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by The Ting Tings. That song is 2:51, so my goal for awhile was to hold the plank for the length of the song. It helped so much. I highly recommend doing it this way.

Benefits? Results? Yes! My core got stronger, which improved my posture, swimming and yoga practice. Also? My clothes got looser. I swear, it flattened my stomach.

As soon as the month was up, we went to L.A., so I kind of just stopped cold turkey. I'd like to keep doing planks. I don't know if every day is the answer, but maybe three times a week. I'll report back.

P.S. While I was doing these, I came up with all these terrible plank puns. You're welcome.

Plank it; plank it real good
Plank what your mama gave you
If you've got it, plank it
You make planking fun
Plank on through to the other side
Plankin' - I plank it to the east, and I plank it to the west...

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