The Ultimate 8 Minute Plank Challenge

The Ultimate 8 Minute Plank Challenge

The Ultimate 8 Minute Plank Challenge

If you’ve nailed the basic plank and are ready to step it up to the next level, then this plank challenge is for you! The workout we’ve created adds the elements of balance, symmetry, oblique lifts, and low back engagement to give you a complete, all-around core strength challenge.

WHAT MAKES A PLANK WORK?

The plank is what is known as a stability exercise. While there are a variety of creative planks that get you to move, the basic plank is an ‘isometric” hold- meaning you have tension in the muscle without contraction or movement. While you hold your position, gravity is trying to pull your mid-section down. You are engaging your core muscles to keep your back straight.

Essentially you pull the muscle in so tightly that the strength comes in the stillness. The struggle for many people is that exercise = movement, so holding still doesn’t always resonate as effectively. But that couldn’t be more wrong. Isometric Work and they work well! Try sitting in a chair pose for 1 minute and see if your legs feel the burn.

BENEFITS OF A PLANK CHALLENGE

Flatter Abs

A.K.A. tighter tummy. Okay, maybe it’s vanity but I bet most of you would like flatter abs. But here’s the thing- it’s NOT just about good looks! Having a smaller tummy means less weight pulling in the front and straining on your back. A flatter tummy also promotes better posture and of course, makes it easier to button your jeans.

Decreased Back Pain

The strength built in your core during a plank is one of the best ways to ward off or help decrease back pain. Having a stronger core without putting strain on your spine makes for a healthy, happy back! The American Council on Exercise (“ACE”) includes the plank as one of the 5 best exercises to ward off back pain.

Improved Balance and Posture

As noted before, having a nice, strong center is going to give you better posture. Practicing a plank will make you stand taller and look leaner. In addition, your core is the center point for your balance. When you have better core strength you have better balance and balance is an absolute necessity, especially as we age!

THE 8-MINUTE PLANK CHALLENGE

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and move directly to the next one. Go through the routine twice for an 8-minute, ab-building workout. This is a great challenge to add to the end of your cardio workout or workout at home when you have a few spare minutes and want to work your core!

Plank to Single-Arm Reach

A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.

B) Raise your right arm and hold for one count.  Repeat on the other side.

Side Plank Lift and Lower

A) Come into a side forearm plank by lying in one long line on one side, stacking your elbow under your shoulder, and keeping your forearm on the mat perpendicular to your body. Stack your feet and stay in one long line as you engage your core and lift your hips up forming a side forearm plank.

B) Dip your hips down toward the mat and lift back up using your obliques and core muscles.

Plank to Balance Plank

A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.

B) Raise your right hand off the floor at the same time as your left foot and leg and hold for one count. Return your hand and foot to the floor and repeat with your opposite hand and foot.

Courtesy / Credit: Get Healthy U

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