Workout of the Month: 20 Minute Planks

by Riley Sugarman

photography courtesy of Pexels

The end of the semester brings holidays, finals and artic-cold weather. Unfortunately, many students neglect exercise in an effort to make time for studying and other commitments.

Molly Cohen (Wheelock ’19) relates to the hectic schedule finals season can bring.

“At the end of the semester, I have so many projects, essays and final exams that studying becomes my main priority instead of taking time to work out,” said Cohen.

Kiana Carver (COM ’21) finds it too cold at this point in the semester to walk from East Campus to FitRec, and she often opts to skip her workout if the BU Bus isn’t running.

“It’s hard to make time for the trek over to West Campus, and I find myself getting tired by the time I get there anyway,” said Carver.

Many college students are under the impression that regular exercise is far too time consuming to include in daily life. In reality, exercise can be made to fit any schedule, no matter how busy. Avoid cold weather and extra transportation time and have a quick and effective workout in your dorm.

Planks are a simple workout that can be done practically anywhere and are great for strengthening the core. It can be hard to work up to long sets as a beginner, so going at your own pace is essential.

First, find an area you would be comfortable on for an extended period of time, like a yoga mat or a plush carpet. To start forearm planks, lie down and stretch out with your feet hip-width apart, and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and shoulder-width apart. Tuck your toes and lift your body up and make sure to look straight ahead. Hold for one minute with a 30-second break and repeat four times.

Next, try straight-arm planks. Straighten out your arms so your palms are flat on the ground and are shoulder-width apart. Hold for one minute with a 30-second break and repeat four times.

Stay in this position to move into side plank. Rotate to one side with one arm still extended and palm flat on the floor. The foot on the same side should lay with its side against the floor with the other stacked on top, and your arm and body should form a right triangle. Extend your free arm straight up in the air and hold for one minute, with 30-second breaks. Repeat twice on each side.

If balancing is an issue place one foot in front of the other on the ground, instead of stacking. For a challenge, double the length of time for each plank and cut the number of reps in half.

To finish it off, try plank push-ups. These essentially go from forearm to straight-arm planks. Start in forearm plank position. Extend the right arm with the palm flat on the ground and then the left, until in straight-arm plank position. Then, move the right arm into forearm plank position with the left arm following after. Repeat thirty times.

If these are too challenging, shorten the length of time or the number of reps until you feel comfortable completing the set. Make sure to drink plenty of water after, and prepare for a sore core in the morning.