Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Plank You Very Much

All my friends?  Consider yourselves put on notice.
We will be doing this.
Foreign Language Friday!  Be prepared to get your smart on, because I've come ready to drop some knowledge up in here.

On Foreign Language Fridays I will attempt to decode "gym speak" for you, so that it doesn't feel too Alice in Wonderland-like when you work up the courage/make the time/decide once and for all to go to the gym.

Today I'm going to talk about my favorite nemesis part of the body, the belly.  Specifically, how we can help to banish it forever from our sight.

I'm pretty sure hearing my 62 year old father talk about his "core" means this buzz word has reached it's apex.  But lest you find yourself on the cusp of completely missing out on the Core Craze (not on my watch, you aren't) here is some help with the vocabulary.

Core: the central part of a fleshy fruit.  (The literal definition. *giggle* I personally own the "fleshy" part.)  The core of your body is actually just your abdominal and back muscles.

Abdominal muscles: try to produce some flatulence.  Feel that? Those are your abdominal muscles.  The tragically hip call them "abs".  There you go.

Here are some sweet moves to develop your Abs of Steel.


Plank is the Granddaddy of abdominal work.  It's actually a yoga position that is a stealth bomber of effectiveness.  It's crazy deceptive in it's simplicity.  Plank is like having a contraction during labor; it's the worst minute of your life but will yield some results, dude.  Unless you cheat with an epidural. (Haha - that's just a Mommy War starter because I had 4 C-sections and a boatload of drugs - thank you Jesus.)(Also, please don't fight Mommies; your labor and delivery was the hardest, bar none. Everyone knows that.)

There are a few basic plank positions.

Straight Arm Plank and my man triceps again (Also this is where your fitness instructor will tell you to look down at your feet because if you are in the proper position they are the only part of your body you should see.  No shins or knees.  But some of us may look down and see only our Mama Gut. Don't get discouraged.  Just keep workin' it.)
Forearm Plank and my totally clean carpet.  Don't be jealous.
Side Plank (where I wonder if I shaved my armpits).

What do you do once you are in the proper position?  Not a darn thing.  Stay there.  Try to stay there for at least 30 seconds at first.  Then gradually build up, stretching your time out longer.  After you get good and strong you can vary plank position with leg lifts or other movements.

The most important part of plank?  Sister Friend, tuck. in. your. booty.  We are not making mountains here.  Your back should be straight and your tush tucked in.  Also, wrists below shoulders.  (See the way I nailed that in the side plank photo?)  When in doubt, or you find yourself shaking like a 7.0 on the Richter Scale, pull your belly button in to your back.  I don't question the methods that work, y'all.

Stability Balls

Awww yeah - that's my gangster face.  (Because I'm a Ball-er.)(Get it?)  I'm totally channeling 50 Cent here. (And?  I didn't even plan it but my finger pointing at the ball looks totally like I'm pointing my gun.  Snap.)

I think the most common way to use this piece of equipment is to kick/throw it around the living room until Mama notices and goes apoplectic when she yells, "FOR THE LAST TIME, THAT IS NOT A TOY!" to which the children think, "Dude!  It's a giant ball.  Of course it's a toy, Mama Dear."

The stability ball is awesome because any way you use it you are engaging your core.  It's like the best thing next to riding a mechanical bull.  (How do I not own a mechanical bull?)(Friday nights would vastly improve if I had my own mechanical bull.)(Who am I kidding?  Every night would vastly improve.)(Bill Gates better own one because it would be an insult to immense wealth to drop the ball on that one.)

You can do anything on the stability ball.  Crunches are most common, but you can do a ton of different exercises using the ball.  In fact, here is a YouTube video I stole full of them. You can even do plank position on the ball!  (And that's how you come full circle.) Some people even sit on it to watch t.v. or surf Pinterest work on the computer.  There are three common questions about the ball.

1. How do I get on?  (TWSS - M. Scott)
Sit down on the ball.  Walk your feet down to where you want the ball positioned. While different exercises require different positions, mostly it's a matter of taste and comfort.  There are no Stability Ball Police at the gym ready to call you out.  (I know, I checked.)

Brian has been laughing at these pictures all freaking night.  Don't feel too bad, I know where he lives.  Also, I have no idea why this font is so big. 

2.  How do I get off? (TWSS)
See how you got on?  Do the opposite.

3a.  Is it possible to fall off?

3b.  Has it happened to you, Sublurban Mama, Queen of Coordination?
Maybe once.  But only because I hate crunches and was trying to escape reality by closing my eyes.  That does not aid in balancing.  On a positive note, I have made my embarrassed face so many times at the gym that it doesn't even embarrass me anymore. (How does that even work? Paradox! It's like my mind is blown.)

So, there you go.  Another Friday, another massive amount of sweet information.  Happy Planking! Happy Stability Ball-in'!  See you Monday!


  1. Replies
    1. Welcome, Paige! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You just crack me up. From the fighting birthing mamas to 50 cent, you cover ALL topics in style. Thanks for the laugh! I'm not sure I'll ever try either of these things, but at least now I KNOW. ;)

    1. I think we need to have a girlie date where we plank on the stability ball while eating desert from Whole Foods and Just Baked. I'm pretty sure one cancels out the other, anyway ... ;-)


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