Body Health & Beauty

Planking – The Workhorse of Workouts

Written by ASingleGirl

I travel a lot.  Planes, trains, automobiles, and ships are my home.  Highways, railways, skyways, and waterways are my life.  I love my life, I do.  But sometimes the nomadic lifestyle makes it difficult to do things that other people take for granted – like laundry, and grocery shopping, and working out.

I hate working out.  Detest.  Abhor.  Loathe.  Get the idea?  Not my favorite chore.

My sincere hatred of the necessary evil, coupled with the fact that I get bored easi…


Wait, where was I?  Oh, yes…I get bored and am easily distrac…

Ooh, shiny!

See the problem here?  In order to force myself to work out, especially while traveling when the LAST thing I want to do is work out, the exercise has to be quick, efficient, and not bore me to tears.

(Come to think of it, those are criteria for most things in my life.  But that’s a discussion for another article.  Or a therapist.  Whatever.)

So, what’s the solution to my anti-workout dilemma?  The plank.  The do-it-all diva, the multi-tasking maven, the workout wonder of the exercise world.  In 15 minutes, I can work my arms, shoulders, back, abs, waist, butt, thighs, and calves in one torturous move.  Or one not-move, as the case may be.

The objective of the plank is to position your body perfectly straight, as if it was a plank of wood, with your body weight resting on your toes and your hands or forearms, and then hold that position for as long as possible.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!

The move is pure torture after a while.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s used as a torture device in some countries.  Heck – after 15 minutes holding that pose, I’m ready to spill my guts.  (Literally and figuratively.)

But I have yet to find one exercise that does as much as the plank does, and works as many muscle groups at the same time.  Here’s a page that highlights all the muscle groups this amazing little move affects:

And, when you get really good (or if you’re a dedicated masochist) you can add variations, like lifting a leg or balancing on a medicine ball or turning on your side.  Here are some ideas on different positions, and some great tips if you’re new and building up your planking stamina:

Because the exercise is stationary, it can be done virtually anywhere and doesn’t required any special equipment.  I’ve done it on cruise ships, on trains, in hotel rooms, and even at roadside rest stops (true story).

The one downside to the plank is that it always happens in some sort of reverse time warp.  And by that I mean that time comes to a complete stop, even goes backwards, while planking.  Two minutes can feel like two hours.  Combine that with my tendency to get distracted easi…

Ooh – shoe sale at Macy’s!

Sorry – what was I saying?  Oh, yes – I combat the tendency to give up out of sheer boredom by tuning the TV or computer to a funny sitcom.  I may not be able to see the screen from the plank position, but following along audibly is sufficient to distract me until I can give up from muscle exhaustion instead of boredom.

So why not give it a try?  If you lead a busy life like I do, this just might be the workout solution you’ve been looking for.  And best yet, it’s fast and efficient and…

Ooh, Coach purses on sale at Nordstrom!

Gotta go…

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