March Challenge: Plank Your Way to a Stronger Core

When you think of your core strength, do you just think of your abs? Your core includes abs but, it also includes the side of your body (obliques), hip adductors, hip abductors, and mid-low back. These all support and protect the spine! 

Are you thinking, okay, why should I care? There are so many reasons! Most movements start in the center of our body and work outward. This means our core needs to be strong so it can be activated at a moments notice! Our core also protects our vital organs and spine.  Did you know that our core is where the majority of our major arteries and veins are located? Talk about precious cargo! One more important reason, core strength helps us have good posture. If we slump, our organs are unable to work at their best. A lot of activity happens in our gut and if it doesn’t have the proper room; activity is delayed and can lead to serious issues. I’m not just talking constipation here people! A strong core leads to a happy and healthy body. 

This leads us to my monthly challenge for March – PLANKS! Do you love them? Hate them? Do them at all? Hopefully after learning how vital core strength is, you’ll be encouraged to try! Let’s get started with one of my go to exercises, the forearm plank! I recommend starting with the forearm plank because it is easier on the wrists and hands. 

Begin by lining up your elbows under your shoulders, this will ensure the shoulders are not under too much pressure. Also, make sure your hips are not drooping, as that could lead to back pain. If you can’t quite hold a flat back push the hips up a bit more, this will protect the back and help your body gain strength until you can hold plank with a flat back.

Forearm Plank

This is a great place to start! If you’re not ready to start here, try a forearm plank on your knees instead of toes.

Are you ready to take it to the next level? Try a side plank! These will strengthen your chest and back. You are also opening the ribcage, which enables you to increase your lung capacity and oxygen to the body. Side plank is a balancing pose, so it is important to keep a calm breath to help maintain balance. 

Full Side Plank

Full Side Plank- Is a bit trickier than side forearm plank, as you can see you are balancing on just your hand and side of the foot. Gravity works against us in this pose which helps us work on our strength and balance. Here are a few of the many benefits of full side plank::

  • Strengthens the shoulder girdle
  • Strengthens the wrists and elbow joint
  • Increase abdominal strength
  • Firm and tone the body
  • Increase balance

Lastly, if you really want a fun challenge, add in some leg modifications. This is so great to practice balance and further strengthen your core.

Now, the most important thing to remember is to keep good form! We want to keep your spine protected and safe. With all of these planks, make sure you pull your belly button in to spine and try to calm your breath. Hold for 15 seconds if you are just beginning and 30-60 seconds if you’ve been at this for a while! Try 3 sets every other day and within a couple of weeks you will be able to see not only a difference in how long you can hold plank but you will also begin to feel stronger through your core!

Alright friends, I can’t wait to hear how this monthly challenge goes for you all. Keep me posted and let me know if you have any questions. Happy Planking!

You’ve got this,


About Author

Heather Hausman is a dedicated and passionate fitness professional with expertise in personal training, corrective exercise, and yoga instruction. With years of experience in the industry, Heather has developed a reputation for her commitment to helping individuals improve their overall health and well-being. As a certified personal trainer, Heather possesses a deep understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. She specializes in designing tailored fitness programs that address specific needs and goals, taking into account individual strengths, limitations, and any existing injuries. Heather's approach focuses on functional movement patterns, corrective exercises, and strength training, aiming to optimize her clients' physical performance and reduce the risk of future injuries. In addition to her personal training expertise, Heather is a certified corrective exercise specialist. She has a keen eye for identifying muscle imbalances, postural deviations, and movement dysfunctions. By assessing and addressing these issues, she helps her clients restore proper alignment, enhance mobility, and achieve optimal movement patterns. Heather's corrective exercise programs are designed to promote long-term muscular balance, joint stability, and overall functional fitness. Furthermore, Heather is a dedicated yoga teacher, guiding her clients on a journey of physical and mental well-being. She combines her knowledge of yoga philosophy, breath-work, and mindfulness with her understanding of biomechanics to create well-rounded and transformative yoga experiences. Heather's classes focus on improving flexibility, strength, balance, and inner calm, fostering a holistic approach to fitness and overall wellness. Heather is known for her empathetic and supportive approach, creating a safe and encouraging environment for her clients to achieve their fitness goals. She believes in the power of education and empowers her clients with the knowledge and tools necessary to make sustainable lifestyle changes. Heather's genuine passion for helping others, combined with her expertise in personal training, corrective exercise, and yoga instruction, makes her a trusted and invaluable resource for individuals seeking to improve their physical and mental well-being.