When I was first starting out, now over 30 years ago, my original fitness assessment included a plank test. "How long can you hold a basic plank?" The “gold standard” at the time was 2 minutes.
Oh, the grunts and groans I got when I told them they were only halfway through the test. And you can only imagine what that looked like. 🙈 If they couldn’t hold it, that told me either their “core” was weak or they were overweight... Or that’s what I understood at the time.
Fast forward to today and I’m no longer interested in how long someone can hold a plank nor do I use it as an assessment tool. I’ve come to realize I was really putting everyone at a disadvantage. Plain and simple.
At that time, I wasn’t taking into consideration that everyone has a unique “body type”. I’m grateful no one got hurt. Now when I ask someone to plank, it is used as a tool to challenge both your strength and a bit of endurance as well.
Here are two plank variations (inspired by my mentor and friend @zaccupples) for you to check out. Try the one that is most closely compatible with your body type.
Here’s what you’re gonna need:
- comfortable/clear space
- a mat
- maybe something for your neck/head
- 2 towels
Here’s my recommendation…ALWAYS START HERE because being able to breathe correctly and according to your build is the FOUNDATION to better health, getting stronger, and feeling good again.
What’s your body type? EXHALE/REACH like this:
🤸♂️Loosey-Goosey: LONG Sighing exhale (fogging a glass)/Reach arms straight up
🏋🏻Super-Tight: Pursed Lip exhale (blowing out birthday candles)/Reach arms overhead
Daily Practice for YOU ➡️ https://youtu.be/QD8ZwYjfCI4
Here’s what you’re gonna do:
🤸♂️The Loosey-Goosey Plank:
- 2 towels (one under forearms/one under feet)
- Subtle TUCK of your hips (knees on ground)
- FULL EXHALE: push the ground away (NO CRUNCHING! GET ABS!)
- HOLD position
- FULL INHALE: slide backwards comfortably (DON’T SHRUG!)
- FULL EXHALE: slide upwards comfortably (DON’T SHRUG!)
- Repeat: 8-12 reps x 2-3rds
🏋🏻The Super-Tight Plank:
- Side lying position
- Bottom forearm, elbow, shoulder make the same line
- TOP leg STRAIGHT
- BOTTOM leg BENT (below your hips!)
- Subtle TUCK of your hips
- LIFT up and ROLL forward: weight on DOWN hand, OUTSIDE down knee and foot/TOP foot instep (look at your down wrist!)
- HOLD position and breath there: 5-7 breaths x 2-3rds/side
Try these as part of your workout warm-up/cool down or morning movement routine.
Let me know how you feel afterwards.
Dedicated to your health and longevity, Mike
P.S. Curious and want to see if my training style is a good fit for you? Email me for a Complimentary Assessment & 1 Free Orientation Session. No gimmicks, no pressure, just a discussion about you! I want to help you move better and feel stronger. CLICK HERE to learn more.
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