MY FAVORITE EXERCISE: THE PLANK

The thought of starting a new exercise regimen can be quite daunting. Feeling out of shape or weak can be disheartening and can sometimes make a goal just seem so far out of reach. Discouragement sets in before the start, and can often put off that start date until tomorrow, next week, or even next month.

I had similar feelings not too long ago. I woke up one day, and I had a little extra “softness” in some places I didn’t care to have it. Now, I realize as we get older, our metabolism starts to slow, and sometimes it feels like we need to run a mile just to stay in one place.  Ugh, why does it have to be so hard??
I found myself feeling a little discouraged, but I wasn’t about to settle and give into it. As we get older, there is no doubt our body changes. But if we modify our diet and exercise, I do believe we can be stronger and healthier, and hold onto that youthful energy.  Shoot, I’m determined to do it.

I was introduced to the plank years ago in yoga. For me, it was one of the most difficult poses due to my lack of strength in my lower abdomen. Embarrassed by my weakness, I would start shaking after holding the position for only a few seconds.
Well, I recently revisited Mr. Plank.  A back injury had me feeling defeated, and my doctor had suggested I start doing them to strengthen my core muscles which would ultimately help support my spine. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

I’ve been doing planks for months now, and I’m astounded by my strength progress which only continues to increase. My arms, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles have never been more defined in my life. My posture has never been better.

Proper form is key- All muscles engaged, tummy tight, back straight, elbows directly under shoulders. Hands can be either together or straight out on floor. Feet together or hip distance apart. Try to hold 1 minute, or as long as you can.

The video below provides a live demonstration from yesterday’s Periscope.

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Starting slow with a short, but effective daily routine will help you build strength, get toned, and give you that little head-start that will encourage you to keep going.

Please consult your doctor or health care professional before taking on a new work-out regimen.

Periscope LIVE stream October 8, 2017

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21 Comments

  1. Kathleen

    Thank you Dina for your great video explaining the many benefits & proper way to do planks. It’s only my second week doing planks and my arms & stomach are already feeling stronger. You mentioned taking small breaks is fine. Do you think it is better to take small breaks & hold the plank for longer in order to increase your time? Versus just holding the plank without a break for as long as you can? I can hold the plank for 2 minutes now. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. You look fit and fabulous so the planks are definitely working for you!

    • Hi Kathleen,

      I’m so glad that you’re feeling strong and seeing results.
      The goal is to ultimately hold the plank for as long as you can, without taking any breaks at all.
      You’ll be at three minutes before you know it.
      🙂

      • Kathleen

        Thank you 🙏 so much for your reply and words of encouragement. It’s so empowering to see results🙂 Looking forward to more exercise videos. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Strong 💪 women & strong bodies rule.

      • Eric

        Do it all the time myself along with my cat who thinks sitting on my ass helps ?!!

        It does wonders for the core and certainly reminds me why the cats named Doc (Short for doctor evil )

  2. Fitnesschick927

    I love to do planks! I’m only into 1 minute now though and I need to work on my plank posture! Any good tips? Also do you prefer to do planks with shoes? Or without? I need a good grip so my feet doesn’t slide. Keep up the good work! 💪🏼

    • It’s amazing how having a strong core can really help with certain back “issues” and posture.
      Like you, I also need a good grip.
      If I do them at the gym, I’ll wear my shoes.
      But I typically do them barefoot, at home on carpet.

      Tips: Proper form is everything!
      Make sure your belly is tight, back is straight, and your weight is evenly distributed.

      It’s OK to take small breaks if you need to, and restart.
      As you get stronger, you hold it longer and take less breaks…
      When it starts to feel “easy” for me, I add more time.

      Know the difference between real pain and fatigue.
      If something hurts, by all means, STOP!

      I hope this helps.
      🙂

      • Fitnesschick927

        Thank you for replying!
        I tried the plank without my shoes, just bare foot and it helped tremendously, I could hold the plank longer. Though yoga mat helps a ton too! Thank you again for replying and thank you for your help!

  3. Mary

    Hey Dina. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been building a workout around planks for busy days when I can’t make it to the gym. It’s fantastic! I’m nowhere near making it 5 minutes yet, but I am determined to get there. Thanks for the motivation.

  4. Troy

    Hi Dina how are you doing ? hope you are well.You seem busier then ever lately with all these parts you are getting.Hope you can write me back if possible. Troy

  5. I received a message from someone who recently saw my video on planking.
    It made me smile and I wanted to share it with you.
    The author gave me permission to post but wished to remain anonymous.
    Here it is:

    Hello Dina,….I wanted to thank you for the information about planks helping with lower back pain. I injured my back the first of August and it has hurt everyday. After three-four weeks, I finally went to the doctor. He gave me some anti inflammatory pills that made me drowsy and cotton mouthed. Then about this time your plank periscope came along. After the first 42 second session, i could tell that the pain was easing. I am able to do between 1:30 and 1:45 now, after what a week and a half or two weeks. The pain now is not noticeable most days, unless I move certain ways…or like today when I had to help pick up and deliver a copier. I doubt, that I will ever be able to challenge you to a plank off with loser buying winner lunch, but who knows 😉 Best regards-

  6. Totally digging your post! The plank is also my favorite exercise. Can’t deny the benefits and how good you feel after you crush a long, hard plank exercise.

  7. Burke McCrory

    Dina,
    How many planks do you do each day and how long do you hold each one?

    • Planking is one of a few different exercises that I do daily-
      I change up the length of time on alternating days.

      I started out barely being able to hold it a minute without breaks.
      I’m now up to 5 minutes.
      The whole routine lasts about 15 minutes.
      It’s very effective.

      Thanks for bringing your question to the site.
      🙂

  8. Sonny

    Thanks a bunch. Makes more sense than people saying just do it. Not a favorite but I’ll keep trying.

  9. RE: Planking presentation. I am now better informed and more highly motivated. Thanks, Dina!

  10. Well gosh, how sweet.
    🙂
    Thank you Troy.

  11. Troy Haggedus

    I would never have guessed that 25 years after first seeing you on 90210 you would be even prettier then you were back then.

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