Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Planking craze

Please excuse the huge hiatus! I won't do that again. I've been slacking on my running because I've been in job search over drive. I've only been able to do one long run. The search hasn't been as successful as I would like, but I'm not stopping. I'm not just looking at newspapers. My search is pretty wide, since I can do video editing and content management as well. I haven't decided if I'll link my professional blog here.

I'm also a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run of Greater Baton Rouge. There are 12 schools and about 200 girls. I ran the 5K a year ago and the program sounded awesome. Since I'm back home, I volunteered. The season starts next month. I am a little nervous. I like running, I like the lessons I'll teach. I've never dealt with 8-10 year-olds. My mom has given me a few pointers, since she raised three girls.

Now to the actual point of this post. This planking craze, as far as fitness, is a good thing in my opinion. But the whole timing thing in one position is boring and doesn't work enough for me. So I decided to focus on doing some dynamic planks I learned from my college coach. These things work your entire core and can be a bit hard in the beginning, but you'll quickly see the benefits. Here are four of the 12.

Dynamic Planks
These work your abs, butt and back. Form is most important because that's where you're getting a lot of the workout. Fewer reps with good form is more effective than many reps with bad form. I suggest getting your form down before working on engaging your abs. Do all for non-stop, back-to-back, then take a 30-40 second rest.

1. Prone handstand leg lifts - start in upward push-up position, lift one leg a few inches. Don't stick your butt in the air. Try to stay at a 45 degree angle. Make sure not to shift your weight to the opposite leg and arm. Start with three leg lifts on each side, focusing on form. When you're feeling less burn, increase the number.

2. Side elbow stand (leg lifts) - start in a side plank position. You should be at 45 degrees again. Don't let your hips sag. Hold in this position on each side for about 15 seconds. When you feel good, start holding longer in maybe 5 second increments. To make it even harder, try some leg lifts in that position.

3. Supine handstand leg lift - this is the reverse of the prone leg lift. Again, try not to let your butt sag. It takes some getting used to. Start with three and increase when you get your form right and feel less burn.

4. Supine shoulder bridge hip arch - lay in back with feet bent, shoulder length apart. Lift pelvis slowly. Hold at the top for two counts, then lower slowly. Start with five reps. To make it harder, you can hold at the top for longer. I am up to five seconds and you really work your butt on this one.