I’ll tell you a secret: I hate walking planks very much. It works your core and arm muscles and is a great bodyweight exercise that you can do almost anywhere, but that doesn’t make it any more fun. When I see these in a workout, I usually think about getting hurt and do a static plank instead, that is, until now.
I decided to do 50 walking planks every day for a week to really get the hang of the move and to make for good content. Is this move the key to a stronger core, or would this be the fitness challenge that made me quit? Continue reading to learn more.
What works for me and my body might not be the best thing for you. Before you do 50 reps of anything, it’s a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer if you’re coming back to exercise after an injury or a break. Also, keep in mind that walking planks might not be good for people who have just given birth or who have had a wrist injury in the past.
How to walk in a plank position
To do a walking plank, also called an up-down plank, get into the plank position on an exercise mat. If you don’t have one, we’ve found the best yoga mats that can also be used as exercise mats here. Keep your arms straight and your palms flat on the floor. Don’t forget to keep your hands under your shoulders.
Hold your core still as you lower your left elbow to the ground, then your right elbow. You should still be in plank position, with your weight on your elbows. Stop here, press your left palm into the floor, and then push back up to a high plank position.
Find out how to do a walking plank and what changes you can make here.
What happened when I did 50 walking planks every day for a week?
This one wasn’t fun or pretty, but here’s what I learned after doing 50 reps of the exercise every day for a week.
PLANS DIDN’T GET ANY EASIER
By day four or five of most of these challenges that last a week, I’m looking for ways to make the move harder to make things more difficult. With walking planks, this wasn’t the case. I found that just a few reps were enough to make my arms and core burn. This could be because, as a runner, I don’t spend as much time on my upper body strength, but compared to my usual ab workouts, this definitely felt more like a full-body workout.
If up and down planks are too hard for you right now, start with a regular high plank to build your strength. Once you have mastered that move, try to hold a plank for a minute. After 30 seconds, switch from a high plank to an elbow plank. This will help you get used to the move. You can also start with fewer reps. Aim for two up-and-down planks on each arm and build up from there.
MY MIDDLE AND ARMS FELT STRONGER
Even though this exercise didn’t feel any easier, my core and arms did feel stronger after a week of doing 50 reps every day. I thought about squeezing my belly button in toward my spine as I did the reps. This helped me keep my abs working the whole time. As I moved from the low plank to the high plank, I also had to think about keeping my pelvis still and parallel to the floor instead of rocking from side to side.
I had to fight the urge to hurry
On the first day, I did the exercise as quickly as possible so I could get my 50 reps over with as quickly as possible. On day two, when I unrolled my exercise mat and did the same thing at the gym, a personal trainer stopped me and said, “You do know you’ll get a lot more out of this exercise if you move slower, right?” He wasn’t wrong. When I slowed the move down, my core had to work harder to keep my body stable, and my arms had to work harder to move from the low plank to the high plank.
To do this exercise well, you need to move slowly and carefully. I was able to move more slowly when I did five sets of 10 reps and took a short break between each set. I would also switch the arm I led with every five reps to make sure I worked both sides equally.
I’m going to make it a regular part of my life
I’m still not a fan of walking planks after 350 reps, but I’ll be adding this ab and arm exercise to my home workouts from now on, and hopefully I won’t hate it as much. I found that the best way to do an exercise is to break it up into shorter sets and pay attention to the muscles you are working as you go. So, I’m glad that tomorrow I won’t have to do 50 sets of walking planks.