Monday, May 25, 2009

The plank of death

I don’t like much about exercise, but if I had to pick a least favorite part, it would be running. I wouldn’t run unless something was chasing me and even then, I don’t think I would do it well. The runner-up (ha!) would certainly be ab exercises of any type. Perhaps that is why my stomach has never ever ever ever returned to its pre-baby state.

When my personal trainer enthusiastically moves into the ab portion of the workout, I have to resist the urge to trip her, or pull the fire alarm in the gym. While I often question why I pay her to torture me, it is never more prevalent than it is at this time. A few weeks ago she caught me off guard when she said that we were moving to the ultimate ab workout and it was a CRUNCHLESS-ab exercise. Excuse me? You have a CRUNCHLESS-ab exercise that you’ve just conveniently forgotten to incorporate up to this point? Had I known CRUNCHLESS-ab exercises existed, I would certain have abs of steel by now, no?

Moments later, she effortless demonstrated a position called the plank. Not only did it look obnoxiously simple, but you didn’t have to do anything once you assumed the position. Yup, you heard it right, a stationary crunchless-ab exercise. Does it get any better than that? After she showed me how to do the plank, she told me that our goal would be for me to hold it for one minute. Oh, absolutely. Where has this exercise been all of my life?

I quickly got into the plank position. It didn’t take too long before karma totally showed up to kick my ass. I was mentally trying to back track to moments earlier; trying to erase my smug look and those taunting words like easy, effortless, and wimpy. My arms started quivering, certainly milliseconds away from spontaneously combusting. All the while, I was trying to figure out who sat the baby elephant on my lower back, as the hundreds of pounds of pressure there certainly was not a figment of my imagination. While I bit my lip and contemplated standing up and sprinting out to my car before she could catch me, she proudly declared that I had reached the 15 second mark, only 45 more to go! Then my head exploded.

As I was preparing to not-run on my treadmill tonight, I made Craig take a picture of me demonstrating the plank for all of you. For some reason, talking about the PLANK OF DEATH is not nearly as effective without a visual aid. The PLANK OF DEATH doesn’t require much explanation. In fact, the photo likely explains it much better than I could. I would easily write two paragraphs and you’d end up confused, standing on one leg with your arm wrapped behind your back, trying to figure out what to do next. The only caution for the plank (beside its intent to kill you) is to keep your butt flat, fairly level with your back and legs. Don't stick your butt up, or lower it down. In other words, if it doesn't feel like it is seconds away from killing you, you are DOING.IT.WRONG.

If you happen to enlarge this picture, please pretend that the debris on the rug is residue on my camera lens. It isn't, but it is so much better to pretend than to wonder what on earth really is on that rug...

A few things I’d like to say:

First, I dare you to try it, like triple-dog-dare.

Second, if you try it, you are hereby commanded to return to this blog and let me know just how long you were able to stay in the plank. Just don’t say longer than me, I am a sore loser.

Third, if you put a picture on your blog of you doing the plank, I might just love you forever.

Is this a true testament of the whole misery loves company ideology?


Sherry D said...

I understand and feel your pain. We did this in boot camp every morning for five weeks. Wait until she tells you to assume the squatting wall position as you brush your teeth, after you have done this. Ouch!


Ann's Rants said...

I LOVE the plank. I like to run. I will still always be at LEAST ten pounds heavier than you.

So there!

Off to planketyplankplank!

Jodi said...

Ooh, I hate the plank too. I have a series of workout DVD's (that are collecting dust in the basement right now) but, anyway, they include the plank and even then lefting one arm and holding with one, are you kidding me!? I always shake and get all red in the face! LOL!

Call Me Cate said...

I'm actually really glad you posted the picture because I was picturing something completely different. I was picturing this thing where you are on your side, arm extended, body at an angle, other arm extended to the sky. Yeah, what's the point of that? It's never gonna bring about world peace, that's for damn sure.

I shall try this plank tonight, in your honor. Judging by how much my Wii laughed at my push-up attempt last week, I expect it to be a really good time.

Kara said...

Oh I was laughing before I even got a paragraph in. I HATE the plank. Hate it. Loathe it. I want it to die a horrible death. Unfortunately planks are a solid part of my routine. Bleah.

I can hold one for a minute at this point but I don't like it very much. (Maybe you already got that impression - I know I'm subtle that way!)

And no, there will be no photos of me planking. Ever. :)

Grand Pooba said...

OH god I hate the plank! They used to make us do that on the drill team during practice. Ugh!

But look at your form! You're amazazing!

Anonymous said...

About 30 seconds. It's REALLY BORING. However, I certainly could do it if it were a lot funner. (No, that is not a word, but Google does not think it is a non-word)

Laughing alleviates the pressure. It's really funny because -- oh, it;s just so FUNNY! I don't have a blog so I can't post a picture, but I'd be laughing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to double post, but -- I find it really enjoyable! (I know most people here want it to die a painful death. If only it were more well known!)

But like I said, VERY BORING.

Suzy said...

I have one of me walking the plank.

Jeanne said...

There's a trio of older ladies at my gym (as in two in their 60's, one who's 70) who recently invited me to join them in planking. I lasted 45 seconds. They then went on to repeat the exercise 2 more times for 2 minutes each.

It is so humiliating to get your ass kicked by old ladies.

C. Beth said...

Okay, I like the plank! My trainer (when I had one, many moons ago, pre-Zoodle) introduced me to it, and I have done it a bit on the Wii Fit. Maybe I'll do it tonight!

Clearly I don't do it often, as my belly is really jiggly these days. I'm a skinny chick with a jiggly belly that has stretched out tremendously two times. Ick.

My current fave ab exercise is the hula hoop on the Wii Fit. That is a great ab exercise!