healthy living waterfall   I realize everyone trains differently.  We all have our pet peeves, favorite, least favorite, and everything in between exercises.  However, I’ve noticed this one in particular, seems to be fast becoming the holy grail.


Unless you’ve read little to nothing regarding fitness, planks are now hailed as the all-inclusive, all-powerful tool to tone, tighten, and trim.  Ok.  Let’s look at this.

Better yet, let’s put it to the test.  I did.  But more on that in a moment. True enough, planking forces major muscle groups to engage; especially your abs.  Side planking, raising one arm, raising one leg, etc., takes it to a new level.

But hold on a minute.  What’s the effect of all of those planks on your elbows?  Your toes?  Sure you can hold a plank with your arms in push up position.  Still the toes are asked to do quite a bit.

Visualize or recall the last time you saw a human skeleton.  Pull up a picture, better yet, go see one.  Notice the direction in which your elbow moves.  More to the point–look at the size of it.  Yes, muscle and tissue encapsulate it.  But if planking on your elbows is a mainstay, you may want to re-think the number of times/minutes you spend doing this.  Working your way down to the feet, look at the bones.  Like the elbow, muscle and tissue surround them.  Again, notice the size and direction they move–or NOT.  Get the idea?

Now for my findings.  I discovered hot yoga a few years ago.  Let me differentiate here, between hot yoga and BIKRAM yoga.  The latter does not depend upon planking as a cornerstone.  Really they are non-existent.  The former depending upon the teacher, can consist of more planking than actual yoga.

Yoga is far from the only entity that overuses the plank.  See how long it takes before the trainer of your choice, starts with the holy grail all-inclusive.

As you can tell, I’m not the biggest fan.

As I stated earlier, some yoga teachers pride themselves on the number of planks they place in their practice.  Why?  A plank has its place; and for me it should be relegated to pirate prisoners walking them.  Ok they are a transition move–but let’s keep it to just that, a transition.  A mainstay that should go away–perhaps not.  But my wobbly elbows would beg to differ.  I noticed this while doing a similar exercise, just how weak they were at times.  Do I attribute this to the overuse of planks or some variation?  You better believe I do.  I’ve all but given them up; swapping them out for other exercises.  By the way, my toes are overwhelmingly thanking me as well.

Have my abs become flabby, my arms lost tone, or the host of other ills that should befall an ex-planker?  Hardly.  I’ve developed my own solutions for my body, and what it needs.

Does your trainer know how to do this?  Better yet, do you?

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at



snowman  I’ve often wondered, what induces others to make change?  Change is rarely easy.  And when it comes to asking your body to do with less, while it does more–now you’re talking task, trial, and temptation.  Hmm..wonder if there’s a storyline there?  Perhaps another day.  For now, the question is “ARE YOU READY?”

There are many ways to assess readiness.  However this model for me, strikes a chord.  Why?  Possibly because the categories, don’t tell the whole story.  They may even be  a bit misleading.  So why would I like something like that?  You’ll see.


As I stated above, names and particularly categories, can be misleading.  Consider this.  Self-help books and  theories abound regarding how to change your mind, change your life.  How many of them have really worked for you?  For me, it hasn’t been many.  When I first saw this “stages of change” model, my first thought was “here we go again.”  A little less psycho-babble and lot more change please.  But if you look carefully, that’s exactly what this, well, exacts.


Precontemplation:  This describes someone who doesn’t exercise, and isn’t interested in it either.  Now for me, contemplation means you are at least thinking about the subject.  Yet, this clearly states “pre.”  So I guess in a roundabout way, it fits.

Contemplation:  Someone at this point is thinking about changing a behavior.  Ok.  You’ve arrived at the point of wanting something better for yourself.  Still, it’s a conversation that’s taking place in your head.

Preparation:  At least here, you are doing something.  It may not meet the established guidelines/criteria set forth by the exercise community, but you’re somewhat engaged.  Preparation means getting ready, so at least you are “ready,” haven’t gotten to “set” yet, and “go” is still in the distance.

Action:  Action refers to someone who exercises meeting established criteria–but the catch is this:  it has been less than 6 months.  This is probably the most vulnerable stage of change.  Why?  After all, you are working out.  True enough, but will it continue?  Can it continue with the intensity needed to bring your goal to fruition?  Here is where many fall short and drop off, or unfortunately, drop out.

Maintenance:  Here, you are meeting your established criteria (that may differ from one person to the next) AND it has been going on for at least 6 months.  Maintenance may mean you’ve attained your fitness goals, but not necessarily.  Really, attaining and maintaining are two different things.  While you don’t want to regain the lbs you’ve worked so hard to lose, with possibly more to go, what exactly is going to keep you from doing just that?  Maintenance requires planning; not just good intentions and lip service of “I’ll never go back to that again.”

So where are you in all of this?  Take an in-depth look at these categories.  And while they are just that, categories–where are you?

If you’ve ever thought about it or wanted it, you are still in contemplation.  It’s still a head game,  What will it take to make it an end game? 

If you’ve fallen off the “action” wagon, what will it take for you to get back on?

Are you maintaining the even strain?  How?  More to the point, for how long?

There are questions which a model of change poses.  Answers?  Well it gives few.  Definitions it details.  But really, the only question which requires a definitive answer is this.  Are you ready yet?

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.