Thursday, 04 August 2011

To plank, or not to plank, that is the question.

The craze of 'planking' has taken the world by storm.  Even if you live in a cave, this phenomenon has hit you hard in the face.  The logic of this movement is however left for those who really have nothing better to do with their time, then to place themselves face down on arbitrary props.  The only benefit I seize to find here is that it makes people smile and is good for the soul.

Performing an actual 'plank', the isometric exercise for raw core strength is done by placing your elbows below your shoulders, stretching out and balancing on your toes.  Simple right? I find this exercise to be more mentally challenging then physical on so many levels.

As much as it requires a strong core, this challenging exercise strengthens your arms, your abdominal muscles and strengthens your lower back, its imperative that you keep your pelvis lifted and stabilize your lower back by engaging your core muscles.

This mind boggling, simple yet 'tough as nails' exercise is brutal.  Lets start talking numbers, once you have put in a full minute of this exercise and felt those flames being thrown from your abdomen you will begin to understand the extent of the plank.  You will begin to understand why I say this is mentally challenging.

Physically, depending on your level of strength and fitness after a few minutes you will literally be shaking like a leaf, sweat will drip out of your every pore like the Ganges in monsoon season, and this is when your mental abilities will kick in.  Gold Coast's Paul Drinan at 68 years old did not break the world record of 33 minutes on physical ability alone. You need the mental power of a yogi to be smashing back those minutes.

And why you may ask would you put yourself through the physical stress of such a simple movement?  The plank blasts energy transfer between your lower and upper body, strengthens your inner core muscles that support your joints, improves flexibility in your posterior muscles, improves your posture and with the muscle development you are torching fat like a blowtorch on a petrol tank..

Like a silent sniper sitting in the distance, focus, timing and precision.

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