I've been wanting to get better at doing the plank for many reasons. One, it helps me with my posture. Two, it's a total body workout. Three, I have always had poor upper body strength and last but not least, I like challenging my body and seeing how strong it really is. The thing is, doing the plank is really challenging - like, really hard. 

    I have done the plank before in the past but due to bad form, I injured my back for two months and I hadn't tried it ever since. I was scared to honestly because I didn't want to hurt myself again. Fortunately though I started out slow and worked my way up - sort of - and this helped me achieve a huge milestone for me. 

    To do the plank, one gets in a push up position, making sure their back is leveled and arms are straight. You can either lower yourself on your elbows or simply stay upright - I found doing the plank on my elbows was much harder so I stuck with doing it upright instead throughout most of my challenge.

    The plank challenge is self explainable but essentially everyday you increase your plank time. Some do a 30 day plank challenge but I personally didn't want to do that and only stuck to 20 days; plus, my arms started to get too defined and didn't like it!

    On day one, I could only do 10 seconds of the plank and it was the most intense 10 seconds of my life! I felt so defeated that I did the plank multiples times the first few days just to get my muscles/body used to it. After day three, Dimitar encouraged me to jump straight into 1 minute and while I was skeptical about it, I went with it. 

    I was able to do 1 minute but I constantly had to take breaks - and when I say breaks, I mean positioning my body up into a triangle to release weight from my arms. I did that for several seconds before going back into the plank position until the time was done. This was the only way I was able to do the plank, otherwise I would have struggled so much. 

    Every day after that, I consistently increased my time by an extra 5 seconds. It was hard and I had to take many breaks whenever I felt like my arms were going to give in, but it helped me challenge myself while at the same time taking it slow. While many people aim for 5 minutes on a plank challenge, I didn't want to push myself that far; just doing a minute for me was a huge accomplishment!

    By the end of my 20 days, I was able to do a minute and 20 seconds. There were days where I tried to push through a minute without breaks and those days really left my arms burning. I noticed about a week in that my arms felt toned and the sleeves on my shirts felt tighter. I also noticed that my stomach area was more toned, along with my buttocks. While I'm sure I'd have to continue doing the plank to see drastic results, I'm still very pleased. 

    I think doing the plank is a great total body work out that will really target problematic areas just as long as you stick with it. For me, those problematic areas were my arms, stomach, and inner thighs. I'm actually thinking about doing the plank every day just to keep my muscles toned in combination with my current workout routine.

    Since I have a nice vacation planned for August, I really want to look and feel my best and doing the plank has helped me realize how strong I really am, but also has helped me feel more confident with my own body. Should everyone try the plank? Of course!

Until next time! xoxo - Sarah


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