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Impressive Planking Requires Extreme Core Strength

A new viral trend has swept the nation, where mature, upstanding citizens take pictures of themselves laying face-down, motionless and expressionless, on…something. Anything, really. This trend is called “planking”, and while it sounds stupid, lazy and like a waste of time, it is.

I know, I know, they aren’t hurting anything, but I can’t help but roll my eyes that the newest craze in America is to take pictures of yourself not moving. We’ve always been fond of not moving here in the great U.S. of A., but documenting it and putting it on the Internet for all to see is a new development. You can now become a YouTube sensation for being sedentary.

I see the lure, though. While I am used to thinking of planks as a core exercise that actually, literally, makes me angry, as I started scrolling through Google images of planking, I saw some planks that made me laugh, cringe, gasp and scratch my head.

While it is easy to take a picture laying on your stomach in the grass, it isn’t very interesting. Chances are, if you are taking the time to upload your personal planking picture onto the ‘net, you have dreams of becoming a viral sensation. To take a planking picture that will have people plastering it on Facebook walls everywhere, you have to have extreme core strength, even to hold the position for just a few seconds to snap a photo.

What makes an impressive planking picture? Balance, strength and illusion. Impressive planking will leave people wondering how you are able to effortlessly lay completely flat on a surface that would normally be difficult to balance on, often just one point of which is touching the body, like a see-saw. The ability to hold a plank position requires more strength as less of you touches the ground. The traditional plank exercise we are so used to doing in the gym for a washboard stomach has four points touching the ground: two elbows or hands and your tippy-toes. To increase the difficulty on your core, you can raise an arm or leg, taking away a point. In most planking pictures, only one point is touching the ground, making the position impossible to hold without well-trained abdominals, lower back and glute muscles.

Want to become a pro planker? Work that core, and of course, do planks!

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July 21st, 2011

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