Happy August friends!
How is it August already? No clue, but summer is flying by and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Luckily, we’ve got another whole month until Labor Day, which means we’ve still got time to work on our summer bodies (which is definitely needed since I spent last weekend eating steak, cake and champagne, it’s fine).
Enter the August Plank Challenge. This 30-day program will take you from a 20-second plank to a 5-MINUTE PLANK! I know. I know. Five minutes sounds like an eternity, but let me tell you – I did this challenge last year, and after doing a 5-minute plank you feel seriously badass. And, not only are planks an awesome core conditioning exercise, but they work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, obliques and help give you fab posture and balance.
Start today, August 1, and you’ll be rocking Navy Seal-esque planks come September, straight up.
After making it through the challenge before, here are my top tips:
Use padding. Spending up to 5 minutes on your elbows on a hard surface is not fun. Get thee to a yoga mat, or plank on a folded blanket or towel.
Form is everything. Your form will make the difference between an effective plank that works the right muscles, and a potential injury. Keep your neck and spine long, eyes gazing down at your thumbs, shoulders right over your elbows, abs pulled up and in, heels shooting back behind you. Learn more here.
Mix it up. Keep things interesting by adding variations to your plank: dip your hips from side to side, bend one knee down to touch the floor and then reverse, step your feet out and in again, or pop up to your hands for a minute.
Distract yoself. It’s absolutely critical to provide a pleasant distraction, or those 5 minutes will feel like 5 hours. TV is a no go since proper form requires you to be staring down at the floor. Enter YouTube videos on your cell phone! They’re usually several minutes long already (at least), and you can nestle the phone right between your elbows. My fave is watching abspirational music videos - Britney, Christina (back in the day), Shakira, J.Lo, Beyonce. Listening to podcasts or the radio are also acceptable.
Breathe! You’ll never make it through the challenge if you’re not getting enough oxygen. Take deep breaths in through the nose filling the lungs, and out through the mouth.
Alright what do you say? Are you with me?