Joining the Plank A Day Challenge is a Great Ab Workout

By Lacy J. Hansen, a two-time Boston Marathon finisher, for

If you're on Twitter, you've probably caught the #Plankaday hashtag that's become popular this summer. For those haters of ab workouts, as I admit to being, this is a fun, competitive, and simple way to get one little exercise off your to-do list.

Dr. Sherry Pagoto, a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and her friend Mike Bauman created Plank A Day as a way to lessen the pain of ab work.

"Hate ab workouts? I hate them MORE. I hate them so much that I have never been able to do them for more than a few days without quitting," shared Dr. Pagoto on the movement's web page. "As a result my back and abs are weak and pitiful. My friend Mike has the same problem. To get motivated, [we] started Plank A Day."

"A plank is a great isometric exercise designed to strengthen the core muscles," DIR's resident fitness expert, Kelly Turner, explains. "To perform a plank, prop yourself up on your toes and forearms face down, drawing your belly button into your spine and keeping a straight body from your head down to your feet - there should be no bend or sag in your waist. Hold this plank position for 30 seconds to a minute, being mindful to keep breathing. Don't be alarmed if you begin to shake, it means it's working!"

Plank A Day is probably the easiest thing you'll do all day. Dr. Pagoto explains that the goal is to complete a one-minute plank daily and then tweet about it with the hashtag #PlankADay.

I wanted to join this planking revolution to help keep me accountable. Feeling pressure to save face, I've had to be sure my daily plank is completed and tweeted before the Plank Police, aka Bauman, call me out. Bauman tweets at those who do not report their daily plank. Peer pressure works both ways, and when that pressure is intended to make a healthy habit stick, it's all for the better.

The Plank A Day revolution continues to grow, and while small at the start, it is large in spirit. The initiative has helped more people include planks in their fitness regimens and has inspired some to make the trying task fun. Plank puns and spousal plank wars have helped keep the movement alive. Some plankers have even challenged one another to "Plank An Hour," in which they must do a one-minute plank each hour throughout the day. Talk about some serious ab work!

Since taking the Plank A Day challenge, I've noticed that 13 miles in to a 15 mile run I'm not as worn out as I have been previously, my shoulders aren't drooping like usual, and I feel stronger to carry myself to the end.

So, who's planking with me? Let us know on Twitter @DietsInReview on #PlankADay.

Also Read:

Plank Variations to Shake Up Your Workout

Try Side Planks to Ramp Up Your Results
Top 5 Isometric Core Exercises