"Walk the plank: Being made to suffer punishment at the hand of someone." - McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms
And now for Part Three of my unintended series: “My Aging Body”, the first being about gray hair, the second about the futility of Botox, and now we finish up with my increasingly flaccid muscle tone.
My health club recently offered a variety of one-hour summer exercise workshops. I eagerly signed up for “Bodyweight Workout”. I figured a little strength training to go along with my walking routine would be a good idea.
So, last night I enthusiastically bounded into the fitness center for the class. I was ready. A few crunches here, some arm circles there, I knew I’d been good to go.
But it was not to be. Body strengthening can now be summed up in one word: plank. In case you have not heard of this dastardly punishment, look it up online. Basically, you are on your stomach, and then you raise yourself up on your hands and toes. Your body is held straight in a line…like a plank. I thought, “Well, I can do that.” And I did. The buff trainer, Daniel, then said, “Now, hold it thirty seconds.” Say what? I flopped down after five.
And did you know that planks come in many, oh-so-many, shapes and forms? Let’s see, raise one leg and the opposite arm, curl your knee into the opposite shoulder, open up and look up to the ceiling, holding each one for thirty seconds. Now repeat, except now you do it all on your forearms.
I will not lie. This was downright humiliating. It sucks having the body of a 60-year-old, especially when this young trainer is encouraging you to do all sorts of unreasonable things with your aching body. Afterwards, when I explained the hour of torture to my husband, he was kind enough to remind me that, “Actually, you have always been weak. Planks would have been tough when you were thirty.” Thanks, buddy.
I know the fitness craze of the last few years has been this whole plank thing. Core muscles and all that. But I have resisted such punishment whenever it was suggested. I figured this exercise would go the way of calisthenics and Jazzercise. All I had to do was wait it out. Literally.
So today, besides sitting at my computer, sitting on the couch reading the paper, and walking the dog (all of which I am very capable of), I will get online. The question: what is the least number and type of planks a person needs to do in order to be declared fit? More importantly, what are the alternatives?
This old body is happy to take her crunches and arm circles.