16. Week 16 challenge

Welcome to our week 16 challenge!  This week we challenge you to add a 1 minute plank (increase or decrease time in 15 second increments depending on your fitness level) along with week 14’s challenge ending at 55 squats a day!  We encourage you to do these (squats and plank) first thing in the morning to increase your circulation, warm up your muscles, strengthen your core, improve your mood and set the tone for the day ahead!

Why a plank?

A plank is a full body isometric exercise that strengthens the core and stabilizes the spine.  The primary muscles worked are the erector spinae, rectus abdomens and transverse abdominus.  Holding a plank also strengths the shoulders, back, chest and legs.

How to do a plank:

To perform a plank start in table top position with your knees on the ground hip width apart and your hands on the ground shoulder width apart.  Lift your knees off the ground coming up onto your toes and make sure your shoulders stay over your wrists and you neck is neutral, looking about 6 inches in front of you.  Your body should be in one long line.  Keep your core tight and engaged, not allowing the stomach to drop or the hips to rise.  If you feel the low back starting to sag, squeeze your butt.  This should cause your pelvis to tuck under slightly, protecting the low back.

To make it easier: 

1. drop to your knees while still keeping in a line (your hips should not be sagging or pitched up)

OR

2. Place your hands (or forearms, keeping you shoulders over your elbows) onto a bench, chair or other elevated surface

 

How to make it more difficult:

1. To make the plank more difficult, drop to your forearms with your shoulders over your elbows.  Squeeze your hands together and squeeze your legs together so your ankles, knees and thighs touch.

2. Do a decline plank, with your feet elevated

3. Jack the legs or alternate legs, bringing your knee to your elbow.

 

Image by phasinphoto

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