Plank Progress: A look at this year’s 30 Days of Planksgiving

Once again, I celebrated Planksgiving during the month of November. Yes, I celebrated Thanksgiving, too — but this post is about BeyondFit Mom‘s 30 Days of Planksgiving.

It’s a plank challenge in which there is a different plank listed for each day for the participants to hold for a minute. There was also a thankfulness prompt, with a specific topic to focus on each day.

This was my attempt at the extended bird dog plank — I couldn’t hold it for a minute, but last year, I didn’t even post a picture of it, saying I did a longer forearm plank instead because I didn’t have the balance for it.

Even though posting to Instagram wasn’t part of the challenge this year, I still posted most days to Instagram (@vanessajunkin) with a photo of my plank along with what I was thankful for relating to the prompt.

The photos provided accountability for me and also allowed me to take a look at my form (at least my form for the first 10 seconds, since that’s how long I had for the self-timer).

I did pretty well with one plank per day until the day of my marathon, the Anthem Richmond Marathon. I did days 11-13 on day 13, I did days 14-16 on day 16 and days 17-18 on day 18. I also did days 26-27 on day 27. Other than those numerous exceptions, I did a plank a day.

These aren’t your average planks. Each day’s plank was different, ranging from a forearm plank to a reverse plank to bird dog and fingertip planks. Here’s the full list.

Since I’d never heard of some before I did the challenge last year, it was extremely helpful to have Kate (BeyondFit Mom) demonstrate each plank on her Facebook page. That was still necessary for me this year, since I didn’t remember how they were each supposed to look.

I couldn’t hold all of them for a full minute, but if I couldn’t, I did what I could or tried to do the plank in parts (for example, I would try to hold it for 10 seconds, break, hold it for another 10 seconds, break, until I got to a minute).

Even though I still struggled with some planks this year, I definitely felt improvement compared to last year. I have been doing yoga over the past year and feel I have become stronger physically, although there is plenty of room for improvement.

Here’s a photo of me in the chaturanga pose on the last day of this year’s 30 Days of Planksgiving challenge. 

I noticed clear evidence of improvement in August, when I did a daily yoga pose challenge. I compared my chaturanga in August to my chaturanga during last November’s 30 Days of Planksgiving — and that was eye-opening.

Just before writing this post, I went and looked at my 2016 posts for 30 Days of Planksgiving on Instagram to see my progress since last year. The photos at the top are the same plank in 2016 (left) versus this year (right).

The last day of this challenge was a plank of choice, and I chose chaturanga this year. It’s one I want to work on so I can become better at arm balancing postures in yoga. I tried to hold it for 15 seconds at a time with breaks — which is harder than it sounds, at least for me. I did that for the first two or three sets, but the last 15 seconds was split up a little more.

I’m interested to see my progress with planks by the time next November rolls around! I haven’t done any planks since November ended, but I do planks during yoga classes and really should work more in (… I did say that last year as well).

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