Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reposted from December 2013 - Plank Challenge!!! Join in!!!

Time for a new Plank Challenge!!!   Repeating the one from December 2013 that we had.  This one will still have squats and crunches.  Let's get hot for summer!!! ;)

Our new plank schedule is a bit more gradual than the last.  I noticed my back was getting pretty sore after a couple of the 30 second jumps, so I decided to find a challenge that was bit more gradual.  I also wanted the simplicity of having a single number to remember when it came time to add in squats and crunches (YES, you read that right,...we're adding squats and crunches if you're so inclined to try it out), as my days all run together because of my crazy schedule, and remembering one number is hard enough, let alone different numbers for each exercise.

Please note:  None of the pictures, nor the calendar, are my property.  Everything was found on Google doing various searches for this challenge and for proper vs. improper techniques.

INTRODUCING, our 2014 Plank (and crunch AND squat) Challenge calendar:

Looks easy, huh?!  We'll see how it goes!!!  ;)

Since I'm the one instigating this challenge, I want to be sure I cover my butt by first saying, if you have any injuries or problems with your neck, back, hips, shoulders, ankles, etc etc etc, please be sure to check with a professional before starting this challenge.  If you decide to do it regardless of what a professional (physician, therapist, etc) has to say, please, please, please, stop doing the challenge if you're feeling any pain, soreness, swelling, etc in any part of your body.

Here are some samples of the proper and improper ways to do the planks, squats and crunches.  Please be sure to check your technique and make sure you are doing them properly.  No good will come out of doing them improperly, and you will sorely regret not taking the proper precautions.  Believe me, I know from experience!!!!

Here is a proper plank:

Note that the arms are at a 90º and the elbows are directly below the shoulders, there is no sag in the back, the feet are slightly apart, the head is looking down and slightly forward.  Alternative plank styles are out there as well (if you notice your back getting sore, try the modified one at the top of this next photo).

Level 3 is unnecessary...unless you're just rocking the planks and want a challenge.

Here is the proper squat:

Note that the upper portion of the legs become parallel to the floor and the arms are also parallel to the floor.

Here are some improper ways of doing the squat.  Check in the mirror to be sure your back, legs, etc all look the same as the picture above, and not like the ones below (other than the correct one below, of course):

And finally, for the crunches:

 Note that a crunch is just that, a crunch.  We're not bringing our head to our knees.  Focus on keeping the lower back on the floor, and be sure to not allow your hands/arms to add strain your neck.  One of the things people tend to always do is pull on their neck to help raise their back.  This is horrible for your body and can do more damage than you think.  Keep your abdominal muscles tight and just focus on using those muscles to raise your head/shoulders, whether it's an inch or several inches.  But do no more than your body allows.  NO STRAINING!

And just to show what the straining looks like...again, don't do this!

Let's have some fun with this and support each other through the full challenge!!!  Looking forward to 30 days of working hard together!!!   Enjoy tomorrow!!!  Day 1 will be here before you know it!!!

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