Monday, February 24, 2014

To plank or to rest...that is the test

This evening, while making ground turkey tacos for dinner, I received a text from my mother.
“Does one do the plank with hands on the floor, or elbows?” she asked. Out of context texts are even more fun that out of context overheard quotes.

For those of you not in the know, planking is the latest and greatest ‘get fit and build your core muscle’ activity.  I have seen the “30 day planking challenge” land on my Facebook page more than once. Co-workers stand around the water cooler and candy dish to compare planking stories. And most recently, on an otherwise lovely day spent eating, kvetching and gambling at the 25 cent slot machines with my mother and sister, my sister saw fit to demonstrate this new fitness fad.

Understand that the 30 day challenge goes something like this: Day 1- plank for one minute, Day 2- plank for two minutes, Day 3- plank for 3 minutes…and so on. Until at the end of the month you ought to be able to plank for a couple of hours while a toddler rides a tricycle across your back. Or is that Circus tryouts?  Anyway, back at my sister’s house, otherwise known as Casa Verde, she proceeded to show us proper planking technique.  As I moved into starting position, my sister rounded the corner with a broom. A full on broom!

During her instruction she had pointed out that it was important to stay level and not lift one’s butt up into the air. “What in god’s name is that for?” I demanded.  I was not about to let my older sister whack me on the behind with her kitchen broom.
“It is just to hold across your back to make sure you are staying straight,” she replied. She seemed sincere.
I glanced at mother with a look that I hoped she could interpret as, “If she tries to hit me with that broom you had best tackle her!”

You can visit Mark's Daily Apple site to learn about good planking technique and a detailed explanation of the photo below. My sister is a big fan of Mark's Daily Apple, and probably all of his fruits and veggies. I have chosen his primal-y self to explain the plank in honor of her.

Well I managed to plank with very good form according to my sister! I lasted for 15 seconds which is excellent according to my sister. And she is the expert because she had already been planking for nearly a week. I had to stop when I could no longer inhale or exhale and realized I was using my shoulders instead of my core. Or lack of core, as the case may be. I won’t get into the state of my abdominal muscles, which make the rest of my muscles look Olympian by comparison. That’s an entirely different post.

My point in sharing all of this is to say that some things do not need saying. I always use too many words, as I want to be thorough in my explanations. My doctor recently asked me not to use the email option so much and instead come in for appointments. It seems my emails contain too much information and perhaps I digress into side topics, so he says. I don’t believe him. But I digress…

 My reply to mother’s text query regarding plank form, went something like this…“Heehee…both. Forearm on floor with palms flat. As soon as you cannot breathe, or if you lift your butt, you should stop. Remember 10 seconds is good for a first time!” 

As I stood stirring the taco meat, it occurred to me that I could have left out the bit about not breathing. I suspect my mother would have the sense to stop an activity if she could not breathe. Of course if she didn’t…well, she would have just passed out and dropped a few inches to the floor, where she may have woken up a minute or two later and felt quite rested. Yes, some things do not need saying.

Speaking of not breathing…That reminds me of the year I had pneumonia, followed by a month or two of laryngospasms…yet another story for another day. Right now I should go see if I can beat that 15 second record. After all, I did two sets of five reverse push-ups earlier today. Not the back-bend kind, rather I just lift myself up and down on a chair using my triceps. I’m pretty much nearly ready for the Danskin triathlon again. If you hear a thud from the other end of the house don’t be alarmed, it’s just me having a little rest.

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