Those of you who are our regular students know that we think of ALL we do here as Pilates; conscious, core crafting. Pilates classes, barre classes, TRX classes, Rip Training, and kettlebells- they all require core stability and breathing in a way to enhance and perfect the stability, strength and mobility of our bodies.

Yes sweet simplicity, whether it feels sweet or sinister, our first challenge begins with your core and hopes to enlighten all y’all who do not have the pleasure of what we have come to call, McG short bout planks. The McG stands for McGill, as in Stuart McGill, certifiably THE authority on lumbo pelvic stability and back pain relief through core conditioning- one of our gurus at Iron & Grace. He has authored books that are staples to all conscientious movement professionals. Learn more or find his books and research at www.backfitpro.com. Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada). His advice is often sought by governments, corporations, legal experts and elite athletes and teams from around the world. Difficult back cases are regularly referred to him for consultation. His research in the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory has three objectives: to understand how the low back functions; to understand how it becomes injured; and, knowing this, formulate and investigate hypotheses related to prevention of injury and optimal rehabilitation of the injured back, and ultimate performance of the athletic back. This work has been recognized with many awards including the R. Tait McKenzie Award 2005, the Canadian Society for Biomechanics Career Award 2004, the Stow visiting lectureship from the Ohio State University College of Medicine 2002, the Steven Rose Lectureship from the Washington University School of Medicine 2001, to name a few.

The evidence based protocol for our first challenge using a 2:1 work to rest ratio-12 seconds of work, 6 seconds of rest. Start with as many as you can do FULLY ENGAGED. The plank is a full body exercise. Wrap your muscles around your bones, use your deep corset to keep the abdominal wall intact, reach through your heels, keep your neck long, and use your midback. THIS IS ACCESSIBLE TO ALL FITNESS LEVELS. You may be starting at 2 or 12 planks but your goal is make it to 20 someday. This is why we pose it as a challenge.

THE TASK: a beautiful plank up to 20 rounds of 12 seconds of work and 6 seconds of rest.  Do as many as you can maintain the standards, criteria and conditions below.

THE STANDARD: There should be no pain, an engaged abdominal wall from the inside out, ears, shoulders, hips and heels making a straight line.

THE CRITERIA: Quality position and focus

THE CONDITIONS: Choose a plank position that honors your current fitness level

Please check out our accompanying video to get some pointers on how to progress from the ground up.

Need expert eyes on your plank? Give us a jingle or email!