One of my favorite saying’s is “You gotta take care of YOU before YOU can take care of someone else”. This is so true on so may different topics. Basically YOUR health is all you got. If you don’t take care of this your health will see the effects of this which then will effect those around you.
A lot of the times we tend to do things for others and put ourselves last. By doing this, we are not able to be the best we can be. Let’s face it, if we are at the best we can be then we will showcase this to others. They will reap the benefits of you being at the top of your game. When we sacrifice we aren’t able to give 100% because we aren’t at that level. It’s a cycle. The only way to break this cycle is if we take care of ourselves before we help others.
One of the ways I take care of myself is by engaging my core. Yes, I make sure my core is nice and strong. No, I don’t have a six pack of abs. I wish I did. Maybe one day I will. I do however, have a strong core which is tied into a strong back. Before back surgery I went through physical therapy in hopes I wouldn’t have surgery but that didn’t happen. Surgery was needed. During my time with my physical therapist he engrained in my head how important it is to connect my core and back. Finding your straight line and pulling everything together is so important. You would have thought this would’ve been in my head before this with all my pilates experience. As a pilates instructor I share why it is so important to connect your core and your back. Since my surgery I have worked hard on making sure I continue to strengthen my core and back. I don’t want to be back in the position where surgery is needed.
This is where planks came into my life on a regular basis. I definitely have a love hate relationship when it comes to planks. When I am mid plank I want to give up. As I start working up a sweat I question why I am doing this. This is when I remind myself how great my posture is. How I never want to experience back pain. And I want to look and feel great in the clothes I wear.
There are so many different types of planks you can do. I LOVE this! I can get bored and having several different options and adding different variations is key to challenging myself each time.
Straight arm plank
This is the most common plank you will see. Think of bone stacking when you are in a straight arm plank. This means wrists directly under neath your shoulders. You can come down on your forearms and have your elbows directly under neath your shoulders. Your head stays in line with your spine. Hips in line with your knees, knees in line with your ankles. Straight line. Draw your navel into your spine. I like to think a string is connected from my navel and draws up through my spine and lifts up to the sky. Everything is nice and tight.
This is a great position to work on your balance as it engages your entire body. As seen in the picture above you can side plank on your forearm. Continue to think about bone stacking. I like to use a combo of starting off in a plank then rotating over to a side plank back into a plank then rotating over to the opposite side. You got all of that right? As I mentioned earlier I can get bored and this switches it up for me. Think 30-60 seconds in each position.
Speaking of getting bored easily……straight arm side plank doesn’t get boring at all. Find an object to stare at in front of you while you keep all of your bones stacked up. Think about zipping up your entire body in a straight line keeping everything nice and tight.
Are you wanting to challenge yourself a little further. Try lifting your top leg up and holding it in place. Continue to keep your bones stacked and focus straight ahead. Don’t forget to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
The reverse plank is great for strengthening your core and posterior muscles. Are you an athlete? Make sure you add this plank into your fitness routine. It engages your full body and has been known to enhance athletic performance. When you are starting off try holding a perfect position for 15-30 seconds. Place your hands directly under neath your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes to lift your self up into a plank position. Continue to keep your head in line with your spine.
Form is Key
No matter what type of plank you are doing. Make sure you have perfect form. If you feel your hips start to sink come onto your knees or come out of the position and give yourself a break. Having improper form only opens yourself up to possibly hurting yourself which you don’t want to do. Building a strong foundation is KEY. There is no easy way to achieve it. It will require you to put in the time. The good news is, you can put in 5 minutes and slowly start to see results. Your posture will change which will change the way your carry yourself. This is HUGE!!