Smiling senior woman doing elbow plank on yoga mat in living room

From Sharp Health News, a publication of Sharp HealthCare

Try the 4-week plank challenge, an opportunity to build strength and stamina by holding the perfect plank each day and a little longer each week. But before you get started, remember, the shortest distance to a proper plank is a straight line:

  • Keep your ears in line with your shoulders.
  • Line up your elbows under your shoulders.
  • Squeeze your backside, but don’t lock your knees.
  • Keep your pelvis in a neutral position.
  • Keep your shoulders, hips and heels in line.
  • Keep your ankles at 90 degrees.

Week 1

  • Goal: Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Theme: Perfect your plank. This week, set yourself up in front of the mirror to make sure you’re doing it right.

Week 2

  • Goal: Hold for 1 minute.
  • Theme: Remember the benefits. This week, remind yourself how planks help strengthen your core, glutes, low back and upper body, while providing support to your spine and pelvis.

Week 3

  • Goal: Hold for 90 seconds.
  • Theme: Shake up your plank. This week, shake things up and work a variety of muscles by trying a side plank, a reverse plank, a one-legged plank or a plank where you lift one arm and leg out in turn.

Week 4

  • Goal: Hold for 2 minutes.
  • Theme: Align your body and mind. This week, list the things you’re thankful for and stop focusing on the workout — it can help you get through your longer planks and feel more grounded and positive throughout your day.

The VEBA Resource Center offers Yogalates classes. Yogalates is a fusion of yoga and Pilates which blends the mindfulness and body awareness components of yoga, with Pilates techniques to strengthen and align the body. Check out our calendar to sign up for an upcoming class.