The Plank - October Resolution of the Month

When I was first diagnosed with arthritis I was sent to physical therapy to work on core strengthening exercises.  Good posture and body alignment is easier with strong core muscles.  Good posture and body alignment is one of the simplest, most natural things I can do as a person with ankylosing spondylitis to reduce my risk of deformation.

My shorthand version of it is this:  My spine is trying to fuse.  If that is going to happen its better for quality of life that the spine fuse in a normal, upright position rather than rounded or hunched.  The tricky bit is that rounding my back makes it feel better when it is flared up and inflamed.  The other tricky bit is that I don't have great posture.  I am a sloucher.  I always have been.  I can remember my parents getting after me about it as a kid.

Keeping my inflammation down is my number one arthritis priority.  I have more energy and less pain.  My second is keeping my spine flexible.  I've seen hunch-backed people.  I don't want to become one.  I use my yoga practice as a way of keeping my spine, and other joints, able to go through the full range of motion that I need to live my active lifestyle.

Flexibility is something I work on still.  But, core strength really isn't.  I don't even remember what the core strengthening exercises from the physical therapist were, let alone still practice them.  My sister, Sarah, had told me about a core strengthening program she was doing with a friend.  A couple days later a friend shared a 30 day core strengthening challenge on her Facebook wall.  Then I had a painful two day flare-up.  So, I decided that was my sign for the universe.  It was time to work on strengthening my core--front, back, and side to side.

For the month of October Matt and I will be participating in a 30 day plank challenge, outlined below (and on countless other websites).

Day 1 - 20 seconds
Day 2 - 20 seconds
Day 3 - 30 seconds
Day 4 - 30 seconds
Day 5 - 40 seconds
Day 6 - REST

Day 7 - 45 seconds
Day 8 - 45 seconds
Day 9 - 60 seconds
Day 10 - 60 seconds
Day 11 - 60 seconds
Day 12 - 90 seconds
Day 13 - REST

Day 14 - 90 seconds
Day 15 - 90 seconds
Day 16 - 120 seconds
Day 17 - 120 seconds
Day 18 - 150 seconds
Day 19 - REST

Day 20 - 150 seconds
Day 21 - 150 seconds
Day 22 - 180 seconds
Day 23 - 180 seconds
Day 24 - 210 seconds
Day 25 - 210 seconds
Day 26 - REST

Day 27 - 240 seconds
Day 28 - 240 seconds
Day 29 - 270 seconds


I gotta say, twenty second seemed a lot longer than I would have thought this morning.  I wonder if we'll be able to make it twice as long by the end of the week.  I'm not even going to think about four and a half minutes yet...


  1. I don' have SA, but i do have a swayback. (And osteoarthritis.) As with you,I came to the conclusion that Plank was a good exercise for me to try to strengthen the core. I've only gotten to 120 seconds; i didn't realize i should try for so much longer! (120 seconds is FOREVER!!!) I'm going to use your plan to move it up a few notches. So, you'll have company! Good luck to all of us!

    1. Even at only 35 seconds I can tell that 120 seconds must be forever! Funny how relative things can be like that, right? Good luck to all of us indeed! So far, so good!

  2. Planking is so much harder than it looks! Maybe I will join you in this challenge?!

    1. Please do! We did 40 seconds last night. It wasn't hard until like the last 5 (for me) or 10 (for Matt) seconds, but man, it makes me a little nervous about those high numbers! Still, its fun. And WAY harder than it looks. Have a great day!


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