MANday Week 5 An Insidious Form of Torture

You start on your belly, watching the clock, then push up until your back is straight and your body is braced stiff as a board – or a plank. Only your toes, elbows and forearms touch the floor.

In ten seconds a tremor ripples through your body.

When you breathe your core bounces.


The second hand moves painfully slowly. At thirty seconds you wonder how long you can continue. When I first started I could only hold a plank thirty seconds. Now I know I can do better. I flex my abs. Tighten my quads. Keep myself straight.

At one minute pain grows in my lower back and I straighten up. The second hand starts down and I get a twinge of optimism. I’m not thinking about quitting yet. That’s a very good sign.

At about 1:30 the pain starts in my upper abs, near my chest. It radiates lower and down around my sides. This is where the real workout begins for me. My triceps start to fatigue as the second hand starts it upward turn.

At 2:00 I realize it’s much better when I haven’t run yet that day. Normally I’m dying to quit at two minutes, but today I let the second hand spin fifteen seconds more.

I collapse. 2:15 is a new record. Like running, watching the clock is key to my planking. Today I probably could have gone longer. If my record was 2:15 I could have made 2:20 or maybe longer. But there is always tomorrow.

You may wonder why anyone would do this. I don’t like doing planks, but they are a great exercise packed into a short time. Perfect for a busy guy who always has an office floor ready to transform into a workout room. Another great thing about planks is that they take almost no space. Anywhere you can lie down, you can plank.

I hope you are planking along with me and sharing in the torture – I mean fun.

If you are looking for support, check-in with me each week and visit plankaday on facebook and twitter!


For those of you new to running like I am, the weather is getting warmer. It really helps to run early in the day before the sun heats things up and to drink lots of water. That’s next on my agenda. Time to break out the shorts and hit the road.

Stay hydrated. Keep moving. Live well.


7 Comments on “MANday Week 5 An Insidious Form of Torture”

  1. Did a 4 minute straight arm plank today!

  2. And that was after an hour of rumba!

  3. PushDumpFatButton says:

    Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

  4. I have three girlfriends planking now after reading about it on your blog. We all suffer lower back pain and sit-ups or crunches are hell on the tailbone. I won’t mention times. Two of my girlfriends are … uh… “full figured” women and this is a great, low impact ab workout. When I showed them the literature on muscle burning fat 24 hours a day, they got to working with weights.

    Thank you for the introduction to this exercise! It’s a lot more fun, or at least less torture, if you have someone working on weight loss together.

  5. I never realized planking could be used for exercise! I thought it was just a youtube sensation. Go figure, lol. Great post!

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