Fitness, Self Improvement

December and Wake Plank

Happy December!

It’s the last month of 2016 & if your schedule’s anything like mine, then we’ve got some SERIOUS work to do. Here’s a sample of what I’ve got going on this month:

1.    Crush my final exams

2.    Move across the country

3.    Apply to college in new town

4.    Organize PT Contender (honestly right now I’m totally winging it – it’s been a blast being Miss Spontaneous, but I’m gonna need a little more structure in the future)

& that’s just a little peek at my to-do list this month which isn’t even the half of it. So many little things pile up when you move.

Now, let’s get onto something more fun…


I want to give you guys a Quick Fit Tip I like to do in the mornings before doing anything else. It’s a little something I call Wake Plank.

Q: What is Wake Plank?
A: It’s pretty simple really..I wake up, get up, & do a nice little 30 sec plank.

Sometimes I do two 30 sec planks, sometimes one 1 min plank. It’s whatever I feel like. But I find that even a short plank in the morning means that I’ll be more likely to be more active during the day.

[Pro Tip] Have your alarm set to Pandora so you have music playing while you wake plank.

Physical Therapists are all about planking. I went to a PT a couple years ago for my limiting hip/back pain & the first exercise I was prescribed was a plank because core strength is evvverything.

Why is it so important to strengthen the core?? Because of what our core is responsible for in our bodies!

The primary function of the core is to stabilize the spine and limit the amount of rotation and displacement of the spine. – Michael Lau, The Plank Redefined: Improve Performance with Prehab

& this:

Increasing core stability helps transfer the full force and power of movement from the lower extremities to the upper extremities and vice-versa. – Michael Lau, The Plank Redefined: Performance with Prehab

Michael Lau is one of the Prehab Guys, & you may remember when I highlighted them in The Unofficial Title of PT’s Everywhere when I talked about advocacy. The Prehab Guys are knowledgeable, social media-savvy, & creative. Check Michael’s amazing website to learn more from them about planks & all things prehab :))

During my research, I also found this post explaining the reasons for the plank in PT.

Why Physical Therapists like the plank?

1. It can be used to treat many injuries including low back, hip and shoulder injuries.
2. It is a great way to strengthen the shoulder girdle in a weight bearing position.
3. It can be modified to challenge even high-level athletes.

– Landmark PT, Plank Exercises: A great exercise for many patients and athletes

Landmark PT is a clinic based out of Arizona –TONS of valuable info on their site too.

Bottom Line:
Not only does the plank work our abs, but also our back, shoulders, glutes, and legs. It’s efficient AND effective. It’s strength AND stability. It’s huge for injury prevention!

Just to be clear, Wake Plank doesn’t happen every morning. I forget & wake up late sometimes, and in those cases, Wake Coffee > Wake Plank. Even then, I strive for a plank a day no matter the time.

I’m off to make a strong cup of green tea & cram/relearn everything I learned these past 3-4 months.

[FUN FACT] Green tea burns fat & kills cancer, so drink up!

But first, I’m curious…

How often do you plank?

& Would anyone be interested in doing a plank challenge with me for the month of January? Lmk in the comments

I’ve got an idea for a plank challenge swirling around in my head (bouncing around with a bunch of chemistry formulas) which could work for any fitness level, and I think it could be fun if some of us got together and did it! 

Details to come after finals :))

TWITTER: @ptcontender

SNAPCHAT: @ptcontender

74 thoughts on “December and Wake Plank

    1. I don’t do planks, I do push ups. I do 50 before my runs, and my goal is to do 100+. I’m going back into the military, and push ups are part of their physical fitness test, so it’s a necessary thing. Planks… I’ll try them. I have noticed a serious strengthening of my stomach and the return of what looks like abs since I started my push ups. I love your use of Pro Tips. lol. Great blog!

      1. Oh WOW, 100 push ups – nice goal! The first place I observed for Physical Therapy was at a military clinic. I was hooked from my first day. A lot of the patients there had similar issues — mostly from the PFT training. One thing I learned is if you do a lot of push ups, it’s important to do the opposite movement too to balance it out — so that would be pulling exercises like rows. I know you’ll reach your goal, bc you are good at doing that lol! Thank you for reading & for the kind words :))

  1. I’ve been trying to plank every day and gradually extend plank time. I find that focussing on my core has helped to prevent the back issues that a lot of my friends have been dealing with and is a leftover from my riding days. I’m definitely curious about this challenge idea…

    1. That’s awesome! I love the plank because for something so simple it has great rewards. I am so excited that you are interested in the challenge — & so happy I might have someone to do it with! I’ll message you all the details after I pass finals :))

    1. Thx so much, Sarah! That’s so sweet :)) I am going to definitely need all that luck! & I’m glad you’re all about the plank. I don’t think it will ever go out of style ;)) Consider doing the plank challenge w/me next January if you can!

  2. I would definitely be interested in a plank challenge in January! I struggle with motivation in December but then usually end up kicking exercises butt in Jan! This year I went extra hard so I had the body I wanted for my honeymoon but next year I will need a bit more motivation 😄

    1. Lol aww well that would be great!! I am going to love having other people holding me accountable. I struggle a lot with consistency bc I always want to make it different so this is awesome! We can motivate each other. I will have more details for you soon after final exams :))

      What kind of work outs were you doing to prep for your honeymoon?

    1. It is coincidental that you would restart & plank would be involved at the same time I find your blog, and had just posted about the benefits of planking! Lol and I agree – all that matters is you’re back at it. Thank you for reading, Maria :))

  3. You’re a BUSY woman! As you can tell my blog is in need of serious repair. Since going self-hosted it’s been a bit unorganized. All in good time I’ll be up and running. I’m a huge fan of planks! All kinds of versions…donkey kick planks, side planks, etc.

    1. Hey jess :)) yeah, this December IS crazy. But still not as hectic as single mom training for a marathon lol I have read a little about self hosting — congratulations on that! How do you like it so far? And side planks are my fav planks :))

      1. It is so fun to say! I think because it rhymes…I’m a former English major, so I’m a sucker for rhymes 😍 Your blog is awesome! And add my vote in for the January plank challenge.

        1. Awww thanks so much, Emily! I’m very glad to have another vote for the plank challenge :)) we will definitely do it.

          And majoring in English is impressive! You must’ve done a lot of writing in college, right? You must write your blog posts in the blink of an eye! Lol also thanks for reading <3

  4. I do plank fairly often, but not every day. It really just depends on which strength training routine I follow that particular day.

    So no to a plank challenge for me, I’m not that into challenges in general.

  5. That is dedication!! I just about wake up in the mornings. This post was such an interesting read, maybe I’ll attempt to do a plank tomorrow morning lol x

      1. I did do exercise this morning.. i am not the fittest.. i did planks and tbat exerise that you walk with your hands into a plank and back up..and a back stretch and star jumps..only 10 mins. … but i am happy i did it

  6. Hi Jess!
    These are great and exciting goals for December! You can do it! Do you have ideas on where you would like to move? That is an exciting decision. Planks! I need to do these more often and would love to join you on your plank challenge in January!
    <3 Alana

    1. Hey Alana, thanks for reading!! I am moving to North Dakota where my boyfriend lives :)) I am pretty excited esp bc I have lived in the South my whole life!
      And I’m so excited to do the plank challenge with you! We can all encourage/remind each other :)) lol will have details soon. Have you finished your semester yet?

  7. I love how clear and crisp your blog is!! It would mean the world if you checked out my blog. I’m kind of new here, and some tips and comments could help 🙂 I love your blog!

  8. Hi Jess! Great to meet your blog and thank you! Great post and amazing enthusiasm. As for side planking… Well.. I can barely manage a mere 5 seconds without collapsing. I am trying but it’s hard! I do my glutes workout in the morning with my stretches and incorporate the odd plank and seated row (I Have even taught by a great instructor who teaches me at Buggyfit training sessions!!)but it’s not easy !!
    Laura x

    1. Hey Laura, thank you that’s so sweet! Side plank is reaaaalllyy hard! You can do it on your knees until you build up some more time, and then try on your feet again. You can definitely get there :)) sounds like you had a great work out too! Thx for reading <3

        1. Yes, definitely! I can email you exactly what I do if you want! Its the videos/workouts I use for all core work. They’re quick ones too in case you only have a few min. Email me ( & I’ll send them your way :))

          1. You’re so welcome! Bridges are really good too – with both feet flat on the floor :)) I actually had to do these in physical therapy when I was trying to strengthen my core, and they’re amazing for that.

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