#fitblog plank challenge

I have obviously been trying to keep as active as possible during my pregnancy.  My routine hasn’t changed too much – running 5 days a week and strength training 3 to 4 days per week.  It seems to be working for me, although I do find days where I’m absolutely exhausted and can’t even imagine putting one foot in front of the other let alone run (today would be one of those days).  But, I truly believe that staying almost as active as I was pre-pregnancy has helped me have a very smooth + easy pregnancy thus far.

I’ve talked a little before about the modifications I have had to make due to restrictions from pregnancy.  I’ve lowered my weights and have avoided doing any exercise involving me laying flat on my back.  However, that hasn’t stopped me from still doing abdominal strength training exercises.

When I was working as a strength + conditioning specialist, one of the big things we focused on was core strength.  Every workout we went through with our athletes would end with about 10 minutes of strictly core exercises.  Your core is literally the core of every movement – running, strength training, walking, picking up a book of the floor, carrying a child, etc.  If you have a weak core, you are more likely to suffer from injuries in any part of your body. (Matt, are you listening to me here?)

As a runner, I try to always fit in core strengthening exercises into my weight lifting routine.  I have to admit though, abdominal exercises are my least favorite.  Pregnancy is an easy excuse to skip those exercises since I am obviously not working to get six-pack abs right now.  However, I believe pregnancy is another ideal time to keep your abdominals strong.  Soon I will be trying to push that little Bug out and then carrying my baby with me everywhere.  And as a pregnant runner, it’s probably more important to keep my abs strong to prevent any injury due to the added weight I am carrying.

So, when Katy posted something about a Planks challenge for #fitblog followers/subscribers, I thought it was a great way to challenge my body, PLUS it was something I could actually DO!  Score!

FitblogPlankChallenge_Big

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I’m actually pretty decent at planks, but with 10 extra pounds to my body right now, it has made them a little harder.  I think my record is being able to hold them for a minute and a half, which to me doesn’t seem long enough.  Therefore, my goal for the next 6 weeks is to work my way up to holding one for 3 minutes.

Here is my plan for the next 6 weeks:

  • Planks Challenge Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday
  • Start with 3 sets of 30 seconds with 15 seconds rest between planks
  • Decrease the rest time by 5 seconds each session (i.e. Tuesday rest 15 seconds, Thursday 10 seconds, Sunday 5 seconds between sets)
  • After 2 weeks, increase the hold time to 45 seconds, gradually decreasing the rest time again
  • The last 2 weeks, I will hold each plank for 60 seconds, gradually decreasing the rest time by 5 seconds again

Yes, this is going to be extremely challenging for me, especially with my growing belly.  Right now, I am doing a standard plan (up on my toes and forearms), but as my belly grows, I will probably have to switch to an extended plank – up on my hands instead of my forearms (like in the picture above).

Feel up to the challenge?  You can find the details here.  Remember to choose a goal to work for you as we all have different abilities – maybe you can only hold a plank for 10 seconds, or maybe you’re a stud like one of my former athletes who is able to hold one for 7 minutes!  I will keep you up-to-date on how I am doing each week, and hopefully the blog will keep me accountable!  Good luck!

  • i’m doing the planks challenge too! 🙂 i finally got around to doing my starting hold time last night – it was about 15 seconds longer that i estimated it would be! nice!

    i think it’s awesome that you’re staying so active through your pregnancy!
    sarah (sarah learns) recently posted..new plans

    • Kristen

      I’m trying! It’s getting much harder though!

  • Helpful read. Thank you for providing tips on how to incorporate these plank exercises through the listed challenge. Does everyone have to do this for 6 weeks or can it be modified based on fitness level?

    • Kristen

      It is based on your goals – so if you can only hold a plank for 5 seconds now, you might want to try to build up to 30 seconds in 6 weeks.