Walking the Plank

As part of pirate folklore, walking the plank is a form of torture and murder.  Well, they got the torture part right!

Fitblog is holding a plank challenge in the coming weeks so I’ll be holding my own shaky plank as I challenge myself right along with them.  This is a challenge I can really get into.  Because my core and abs are still in desperate need of some attention.  The kind of attention that comes from me, in the form of exercise.  NOT the kind of attention that comes from someone looking at my waistline and thinking “she sooo should not wear a crop top.” No worries, no crop tops here.  Or belly-button rings.  But some firm abs – those I want!  And a whittled middle.  And no more muffin top.  And an end to the belly bulge.  No more Waisting Time… get it?

If you’ve been reading for a while you may remember that I had umbilical hernia surgery this past winter that required me to refrain from any core work for over two months.  And while I have been back at it for a while now, there is lots of room for improvement.  Both in my abs themselves and in my effort working on them.

I’ve read that planks are one of the best ab exercises in terms of overall effectiveness.  They work well and they target the whole core.  And to add to the reasons I should get down on the ground for this, Dr. Oz recommended them as a way to prevent hernias.  Double bonus for me!

If you want to learn more about the challenge you can check it out here.  I hope you’ll join in; misery loves I’d love company.  But I realize now, as I am finally getting ready to hit the publish button on this post that I started drafting weeks ago, that all my procrastinating means I missed almost half of the challenge period!  Honestly… that wasn’t intentional avoidance.  I just couldn’t decide what to set for specific goals so didn’t set any:(  If I’d gotten started when I first heard about this I would have three weeks of planks under my (soon to be smaller) belt!

Okay… no more putzing around.  Goals.  Planks.  First and foremost – to do them.  I will commit to planks three days a week since I do a pretty decent core workout two days with my trainer; that leaves me two days off.  I’ll start with a minimum of three planks of a minute each and add five seconds each day.  I hope.  I can feel my body beginning to shake just thinking about it!

A different blogger might end this post with some comment about the bikini she’d buy after all that core work.  But I haven’t shown my torso to the world (and sun) since I was maybe a teen!  And, planks or no planks, I sure don’t plan to start now.

What’s your favorite waist whittling workout?  Bikini, one-piece, tankini, skirted-bottom, or “not putting on a swimsuit this summer at all”?



Filed under appearance, body and/or body image, exercise, goals

59 responses to “Walking the Plank

  1. Cardio is the bestest for whittling, but I like planks to wind things up and for muscle definition. They’re on my agenda this week, too, along with stability ball roll-outs.

    Unless I stumble across a vacation opportunity, I probably won’t even put on a swimsuit this year. But if I do, it’s a tankini with swimshorts. You just don’t go from 100 pounds overweight to a bikini or standard one-piece, not without surgical assistance. 🙂

    • Karen

      I think tankinis are a great invention and have become a fan of swimskirts myself. The only problem with the latter is that when you go in the water the skirt floats up! Love the ball. At my old, now closed, gym, I used to take a whole class that used the ball. It was great for my core. I do have a ball at home and even use it now and then.

  2. I still haven’t yet made a commitment to any kind of workout beyond my biking and walking. Back in February, I went to the health club with Clint and injured myself and am still plagued with sciatia pain from that. Nevertheless, your post is a great reminder to me that I should start some daily situps for my middle, so I guess I will give it a try today. Thanks.

    As for the suit, I have two very old, very ugly one-piece swimsuits. One is cut too skimpy in the rear — entirely inappropriate for wide hips and saddlebag thighs like mine, but it cost next to nothing when I bought it and I always wore it with nylon shorts. The other is just a simple maillot, which I will actually wear on vacation next week. It’s ugly as sin, but I love swimming and am so thrilled to even be able to fit into a suit this year.

    • Karen

      Yay for fitting into a suit this year! I am not a fan of swimming. Nor am I a “lay by the pool or on the beach” person. But I will probably get to the lake at least once this summer and that will probably include some time in the water, most likely just leisurely floating on a raft or noodle. Maybe swimming would be better – burn some calories:)

  3. Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with planks. They are so hard, but I do love to do them. GL!!!

  4. Planks are awesome in all forms – so many ways to do them & actually when you do other exercises like push-up, for example – you are doing a plank! OR the stability ball roll outs Cammy mentioned, you can hold the out for a plank!!! Many ways to do them!

    Best waist whittling workout – eat clean along with the rest of it! 😉

    Me, I do a lot of different things including planks.

    • Karen

      My problem is that I have some undiagnosed wrist issue that keeps me from doing things, like planks or push ups or roll outs, that have my body weight on my wrist as it is flat. Planks are easy to modify: I do them on my forearms. When I do push ups now I put my hands on stands or weights to keep the wrist from being flat. Ah, the injuries. You and me:)

  5. Ewa

    I love plank on the days I don’t do it and hate it on the days I do. Great exercise.

    • Karen

      I keep telling myself I should get down on the ground when I am watching TV and do more stuff like that. Never do though.

  6. If I had a waist widdling plan, I wouldn’t be here. muwhahahahaha

  7. I so need to do this. hmmmm
    As for the bathing suit – i just try to avoid them!

  8. Well. Hmmm. I did chuckle trying to figure out what would be my waist wittling moves might be. And BOY did my abs get a work out.

    I jest. Actually, you and a couple other folks have inspired me to get off my duff and get moving. I am still working out the details but it will/is/does involve my Tamilee Abs hellDVD, elliptical and walking with a pedometer and (by week’s end) a very scary looking trio of Jillian Michaels DVDs). Hopefully my abs (buried down there somewhere) will see fit to firm. I am decidedly a one piecer or two with full stomach coverage. I cannot fathom a bikini except in some comical vision.

  9. Good for you joining that challenge. I have to admit I do not know much about planks (except walking the plank), but now I am intrigued. I do want to strengthen my abs so I could bike better. I will check out the link to see if this is for me.

    • Karen

      Darn my memory! Not long ago I read a great blog post about variations on planks and wish I could send you the link. I’m sure you can find lots with an internet search. Just know that there are many variations and ways to modify them. For example – I do mine resting on my forearms because I have wrist issues.

  10. I need to learn how to do these properly/get better at them. I’ll never have a bikini body, but I’d like to be as strong as possible, and my upper body is where I need the most work!

    • Karen

      I think planks are great because they get the whole core, including some lower back. And I know I don’t think about my back when I am working out and remember trying to “run” and having my back hurt. So the strong part is really key:)

  11. Good luck!!! I love doing planks. I do everything from yoga to cardio to resistance to work on my middle. 🙂

    • Karen

      I so need to get back to yoga! I started it in the winter of 2010 then stopped because I broke a bone and never went back. It was great for my middle. As was pilates.

  12. Roz

    Good Luck Karen!!! You’ll be the plank queen!!!!

    • Karen

      LOL – thanks for the vote of confidence. Some months back there were several bloggers actually vying for that as they competed in how long they could hold a plank and then posted videos!

  13. Way to go Karen! This is something I can actually do! I like to do crunches for my waist line and also eating healthy really helps!

  14. Ouch! I would be on my face in record time LOL. I have just started a beginners pilates work out on the net and boy do I feel every darn core muscle! Hoping I see results with it. Good luck with your challenge, I look forward to getting to know you better.

    You can do it!

    • Karen

      Oh I had great results when I used to take a pilates class. It is hard! Must get back to that. Note to self.

  15. JourneyBeyondSurvival

    I twist and turn. For Chickadee to model in therapy, but it actually IS good for the waist.

  16. I’m in, Karen! I fully believe that working on plank is what’s helped keep my lower back from giving out on me while trying this crazy running experiment of mine. I’m headed over to read about it right now 🙂

    • Karen

      Yes! When I tried c25k last winter and gave up because of how it made my lower back hurt, some of the suggestions I got were about strengthening my core (back) and planks are good for that. I’ve had that in the back of my mind too. I also need to get new shoes before I try again. IF I try again.

  17. i don’t even know how to do a plank as for core exercise that if my new goal as soon as i find some that will work

    Everyday Life

    • Karen

      I guess one good thing about working the core is there are lots of ways to do it. This one seems pretty effective but so many alternatives to choose from.

  18. I took six inches off my waist with…can you guess what I’m going to say?? I bet you can…drum roll please…


    That said, I’ve been doing my fair share of planks these days, but I do them on my forearms, not with arms extended straight…not sure which is correct. I’ve been told correct form is on toes, heels together, hands clasped, flat, straight back.

    • Karen

      Oh you crack me up! I do them on my forearms too. Both are considered correct but I have wrist issues so can’t do them the straight arm way anymore. Yep, the flat back is key. I see lots of people with butts in the air. Try side planks too. Very hard!

  19. Planks are the devil! But in a good way. 🙂 Good luck with your challenge!

    • Karen

      Can pregnant woman even DO core exercise?! Remember … I never exercised back in the day myself so have no idea.

  20. Oh, I love that you’re doing this too. I considered it, but then things got overly busy and such… and it fell off my radar. I’m all for starting to do planks. And when Dr. Oz recommends it, I’m usually up for it.

    • Karen

      I bet Oprah would do them with us:) Actually, the other day I was watching Dr. Oz and thinking how impossible it would be to do EVERYTHING he suggests. Just the supplements and food along would be crazy, there are so many.

  21. I added planks to my Slimmer this Summer challenge. I didn’t get to the today but will first thing tomorrow. I was thinking if I could just get down on the ground 2-3 times a day with the kids I could just work on them. Good thoughts anyways.
    Take care and thank you for stopping by. Blessings my friend.

    • Karen

      My problem will be remember to do them. Really. I really need to have shoes on and I so rarely do! Best if I get them done right after cardio but I am so ready to be DONE then.

  22. Pingback: June 7th: Moving Mountains Update | Fat Girl Wearing Thin

  23. I’m a swimmer myself, so I am in a suit a lot. But, the two piece kind? I leave those to my 12 and 6 year old daughters.

  24. Jan

    Planks – the very thought makes me giggle, or hurt. My core exercise right now is trying to standing up straight, keeping my pecs from contracting. (See, I have fun commenting even when your topic doesn’t apply to me, just to show I’m still reading!)

  25. I gave up the 2 piece after my twins left me with stretch marks about an inch wide! The last time I wore a suit it was the skirted kid. I also have one with coordinated shorts – but it has been 4 years since I was last in one.

    I need to do more planks. Much more difficult when you are 80 pounds overweight – believe me!

    • Karen

      I’ve done the skirt thing before too. I like it best for just sitting, from a coverage standpoint. But if I am actually in the water the skirt floats up and gets in the way. Doesn’t work well when I go on my my spa vacations and take exercise classes in the water.

  26. aha! I’ve also had the umbilical hernia surgery… TWICE!! Plank it out, baby!

  27. I love planks. Definitely attacks the whole body! Yes, they can be hard on the wrists, though. You can try planks and pushups using a fisted hand.

    I prefer a one piece or tankini. Even when my tummy is flatter, I have loose skin and stretch marks left from my pregnancies. Not exactly flattering!

    • Karen

      I haven’t tried a fist before. With planks I do them on my forearms and push ups, when I do them, I use stands or dumbbells to keep my wrists up. Ironic that I used to really like (but secretly hate) push ups:)

  28. Well, we do a TON of planks in Jazzercise (sorry to say…) but it all depends on the routines my various instructors choose each day. I’ve gotten very strong so my favorite one is the ultimate show-off one, the backwards plank where we then lift our legs back and forth. I never thought I’d be doing that 10+ years ago!

    I also have a funky wrist, but only on my right side. I lift on that side on my knuckles and on the left on my wrist and have avoided injuring that area for about six months, since I first found out about it.

    And, by the way, holding a plank for a minute is a really long time! Time slows down to a crawl when you’re holding it, as I’m sure you know!

    • Karen

      I had my original goal as increasing my time by 10 seconds a day and realized that was going to be a lot! I thought Jazzercise was all cardio, like aerobic dancing, sort of.

  29. Thank you for your kind words on my SITS feature day. 🙂

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