Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Family Plank Night" Jessica's Journey February 29th

We have all heard how important it is to have a family night.  There are family game nights, family fun nights, family outings (this may just be in our house), family movie nights...the list really is endless.

Last night we added one to our list.  Family Plank Night.

Yes, you heard it right.  Everyone...and I mean EVERYONE...did planks.  We did a front plant for 15 seconds and did this 3 times.  15 seconds isn't a lot but it is good starting point.  I am pretty sure that the moans I heard were because the plank felt good on their core muscles.  :)  For those that wanted to extend the 15 seconds to a longer period, that was encouraged.  Sid went all crazy and showed off her crazy plank skills by flinging her arms in the air but for most of us we stuck to the front plank.  Quinn had his own version which looked more like the downward dog yoga pose so we will have to work on his skills.  He is only 4 but you are never too young or old to do a plank.  :)

I have learned over these last few months what the benefits of doing planks are.  I was very curious why I was putting up with the pain that was involved and wondered what muscles I was actually working when I was attempting to hold my body up off of the ground.  (It sounds simple but it really can be a challenge).  In case you are wondering why you should attempt this great exercise or what you are working if you are already mastering these you go.

To get the full, written up version of why planks are so good for you I went to a few websites.  Here are 4 reasons from that list why you should do planks: 

The plank exercise helps strengthen midsection, upper-body and lower-body muscles along the front of your body. Planks also strengthen inner core muscles that support your joints. The rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis that form your outer and inner abdominal muscles, respectively, are primary supporters during plank exercises. The abdominal obliques also stabilize the plank position isometrically.


Plank exercises help increase flexibility in posterior muscle groups throughout your body. Your shoulder girdle expands and stretches various muscles around your shoulders, collarbone and shoulder blades. Pressing the front of your thighs upward and lengthening your legs as much as possible stretches the hamstrings that form the back of your thighs. Plank exercises also stretch the arches of your feet as your toes hyperextend to support your weight.


Plank exercises have aesthetic benefits that can enhance your appearance by improving posture. Planks activate core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and iliopsoas, which stabilize your spine and hips. Plank exercises help prevent or reverse postural deficiencies, including lordosis and posterior pelvic tilt. Lordosis, or swayback, results from abdominal weaknesses that overextend your back; it tends to make your buttocks stick out. Posterior pelvic tilt, or flat back, results from hip flexor weaknesses and flattens the normal curvature of your spine.


Plank exercises might provide mental benefits that improve your mood. Plank exercises stretch muscles that commonly stiffen throughout the day and contribute to stress. Sitting at your desk might tighten muscles along the back of your thighs when your legs remain bent for several hours. Tension also develops in the shoulder girdle, if your shoulders tend to slump forward. Website Yoga Journal recommends plank exercises for stress reduction, because planks can help calm your brain. Plank exercises might also help to suppress anxiety. Symptoms of depression may improve if you perform plank exercises.

Now...go try a front plank!  Just 15 seconds.  Start little and work up and just add a few seconds each week.  You will be amazed at how you will gain strength and how long you will be able to hold this exercise eventually.  Right now I am trying to get to 45 seconds.  My exercises say 60 seconds.  I will try to make it that long but I haven't made it past 40 in awhile.  I will do my best!

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