12 Days of Fitness Challenge: Day 7 - Up Down Planks

Good morning!  I hope you're all having a fantastic Sunday so far!  It's Day 7 of the Fitness Challenge, and it's back to our arms today - more specifically, our shoulders.  Planks in general are a great way to target the whole body since they require you to engage everything from your chest and shoulders all the way down to your toes to maintain proper form and keep you stabilized.  This plank variation takes it up a notch, and works your shoulders and arms a little bit more.  Here's what to do:

  • Start in a regular low plank on your forearms, elbows directly in line with your shoulders, and core engaged to keep your spine in a neutral position (pictured below, A).
  • From there, take your left (or right) arm and push yourself up to a high plank position on your hands (pictured below B & C).
  • From a high plank, drop back down to your elbows on the same side you started on (i.e. if you used your left arm to get up, start lowering yourself on your left elbow - pictured).  Think of it as a 4-point plank: up/up (left arm/right arm); down/down (left arm/right arm).
  • Tip: Keep your core engaged the entire time and your head in a neutral position to maintain spinal alignment (keep your chin up and gaze forward).  This will keep your air passages open and allow you to breathe easier.
  • To start, try to continue this sequence for 30 seconds.  If you can get through that just fine, keep going for another 30 seconds to make it 1 minute.  Do this 3 times today.

A few notes on joint issues here: 

  • If you have sore wrists from bending them in the high plank position, try propping yourself up on your knuckles using fists instead of flat hands.
  • If you feel you need to lighten the load on your shoulders, drop your knees to the floor, similar to the push ups on Day 1.  For reference on that position, click here).

Good luck!  Let me know how you do!  I hope you continue to have a great day and remember to get your body moving!  Until tomorrow, have a healthy and happy day ahead.  :)