In Kaia we do a plank of some sort every single class.
Whether holding a plank, doing them as part of a Squat Thrust or Running Man, or in many transitions of Flow.
Planks are included in so many workouts because they are amazing for our overall strength. Planks are the most involved core building and stabilization movement out there. It involves every muscle in the body and focuses on stabilizing your spine, pelvis and improving posture.
Most people think of “build your core”, as having a six-pack or showing off those oblique muscles. But in our case, and in the case of planks, we are talking about much more functional strength than that. We are talking about the muscles deeper in our core, and the stabilization muscles that will help with all the other exercises and every day movements we do in Kaia and in life.
Building a Foundation of Strength.
Pushups, Squats, sit ups and especially load bearing movements like Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings, picking up your kids or loading your groceries requires this core strength that Planks help us build.
Once you have a strong core, everything else will follow.
Our core is the center of your balance and the center of functional activities. When we have a strong and stable core, all other movements become easier and we will improve on our strength. Our workouts will also improve as we build that strength. Our breath will also become more effective because we are strengthening our breathing muscles that are also centered in the core. These include your diaphragm, intercostals, serratus muscles, and a few others around the back and obliques. How crazy is it that one simple position can create such overall body impact?
Proper Planking to Gain the Results
We focus on proper position:
1. Shoulders over our wrists or elbows;
2. Shoulder blades pressed away from each other to activate our upper back muscles;
3. Neutral Head and neck;
4. Belly button is pulled in toward our spine to keep our low backs neutral and to use those inner most abdominal muscles (Transversus Abdominis aka TA);
5. Glutes engaged to help protect our spine; and
6. Thighs tight and turned on.
Planking can be challenging as we start a new workout routine. As you can see, each body part has its duty in keeping our hold proper and to give us all the advantages of planking. This can make holding a plank one of the hardest movements to really dial in and do correctly. I have seen many clients struggle with plank, but every second counts towards your overall strength and stability. Start slow, use modifications, and watch how fast you progress into a planking machine! Maybe even one day you can be the Planking Queen of your class. Just take it one day and one second at a time and let your fellow Kaia Girls and Coaches help you get there!
All that is left is a powerful mind, motivational thoughts and the mindset to improve your core to get you through that next hold. And maybe a little music to keep you focused on the moment and pump you up to hold a little longer than you did last time!
Coach Raina Timmel, Kaia FIT Head Programmer.
Raina grew up in Sonoma County, CA. She spent her childhood camping, hiking, backpacking and enjoying the outdoors with her family. After playing numerous sports in high school she went to College to pursue her passion of wellness, and received her Kinesiology degree from Sacramento State. Since college she has worked in several Wellness related fields, including Physical Therapy, Crossfit, Corporate Wellness, Personal Training and luckily found Kaia in 2010! Kaia has been a big part of her life since then and she has been lucky to be part of the growth of the program. She has coached at several locations, helped with Certifications and now is the head programmer for Kaia Corp as well as works as a Manager for Kaia FIT Petaluma.