This week I tried planks for the first time as part of a challenge. The challenge required that we do 3 planks of 30 seconds each. "How hard can that be?" I thought. That was clearly the voice of someone who had never performed a plank in her life. Only a complete plank-virgin would think those things would be easy.
|Photo courtesy Suanie, CC-BY-NC-SA|
After successfully completing the set of 3 planks (only one of which may have had proper form), I felt it all through my core. I even felt slightly nauseous, actually, and I think it was due to the fact that my core muscles were not used to being the focus of my attention like that. I guess my core is an introvert.
It was grueling. It was awful. And I immediately decided to add planks to my workout routine. Now on my weights days I will add 5 x 30 second planks to the list, because anything this difficult to do must be good for me. Yes, yes, it's the Rollins philosophy, I know, but it's true. If you don't push yourself, how do you know how far you can go? In my case, for now, it's 30 seconds. Who knows where I will be a month from now.
I am assured that with practice, over time I will be able to hold a plank for more than the 30 seconds. The helpful fellow with the YouTube video who demonstrated the exercise for me informed me - - in a perfectly conversational tone, while planking (!) - - that I could even hold a plank for 3 or 4 minutes at a time, if I wanted to. I frankly cannot imagine such a day ever dawning, but why not? I never thought I would be able to survive on the elliptical for more than 15 minutes either, and now I can do almost 2 hours, with the right book to take my mind off the passage of time.
Wikipedia tells me that the world record for holding a plank is 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds. Let's just say that this record is in no danger of being broken by me anytime soon. Or ever.
Next week I am going to change up my free weight routine, but the planks are staying.