Hey Everybody,

I hope this finds you all well and healthy.

I’m sending this out early because I’m leaving Saturday morning … PLEASE MAKE A NOTE; I’M OUT ALL OF NEXT WEEK AND WILL BE BACK IN THE GYM ON MONDAY 25TH. Sorry for the caps, but I’m just making sure you see it.

Ok, this week I’m giving y’all the gift of the PLANK!! Y’all know I use this a lot in your workouts. I’ve even put it in my fitness assessment. It’s a very good exercise/test to have in your arsenal. Learn it, practice it … and then you & I will test it!!!!! I keeeeed I keeeeed … maybe.

Ok, enough of that, here’s the plank. Have a good week and don’t skip your workouts just cuz I’m gone. I’m just sayin …

The plank test

 

The Plank test – Fitness tests:

A true “plank” as a fitness test or exercise is actually a low position on your forearms like the Sphinx except your legs are off the ground as well. You can “plank” in an upper position like the “top” of a standard push-up, but the low position is mostly the one used for testing and training. The lower position is much harder to do than the upper position. A proper low plank requires AND exhibits strength in the entire body – entire body? – yep!! Here’s how; it challenges shoulder / hip connection to the trunk – shoulders, upper back, abs & low back, glutes, hip flexors as well as the hamstrings, calves & yes, the feet too. The plank test is a great indicator of “transverse abdominal” (TA) strength, that’s your INNER weight belt, the inner most abdominal muscle. If your TA is strong, you won’t need a weight belt for the vast majority of lifting in a gym, unless you’re truly training for a competition. The plank test is one of the best and simplest fitness tests to train your trunk. It is really simple and only requires a stop watch.

I’d MUCH rather you all do planks instead of “crunches” any day!!!

Plank test procedure

Using proper form, flat back, neck in a neutral position, toes pulled toward the shins with your knees off the floor, your torso weight should be on your forearms and not your elbows. Have a watch or clock close by so you can see it. Start the clock & get in position and see how long you can hold the correct position. The test is over as soon as your back dips down or you raise your butt or your belly or knee hits the floor.

Please be conscious that your lower back is in the correct position and not overly arched, tense your glutes and abs to maintain your lower back position. You might even want to tighten the muscles just like when you stop your pee. This helps with strengthening the pelvic floor & makes the hips more stable.

Breathe easy and steady and try to think of maintain proper form. If the shaking gets too much stop and try again in a few minutes. Just like weight training, start slow and with correct form. Do “sets” of 20-30 seconds. When you can hold 30 seconds with little problem then add 10-20 seconds at a time and keep going. Take a look at the chart below to see your progress. This is a hard exercise – go easy – go slow – progress like a pro!!

Plank test results

The following table will give you a good indication of where you are with the plank.

Rating Male Female
World record 33 mins 33 mins
Exceptional 6:30 + 6 mins+
Very strong 240-390 240-360
Strong 120-240 120-240
Healthy 60-120 60-120
Acceptable 30-60 30-60
Weak 11-29 11-29
Very Weak 1-10 1-10
Alarmingly weak can’t hold position

See ya at the gym