Stop doing planking challenges

Let’s find an app to take a planking challenge. I tell you, there are dozens of apps in Google’s play store. Which one would you choose? My tip: Choose none of them. They all suffer from major shortcomings, and, hence, you won’t get stronger in the longrun. Here are two reasons, why taking planking challenges will disappoint you sooner than you might think.

plank1

Challenges keep you busy for only one month. When the challenge is over, you have no reason to keep your workout going, because you got your motivation from the app. It was fun, but it didn’t really hit you. So all the gains you achieved during the thirty days will be gone within a week or so.

Challenges set the wrong incentives. They want you to perform a particular exercise – the plank – for increasingly longer time. You start withe 20 seconds and end up with 3 minutes for example. This is good for the ego, but it makes you not stronger in the long run, because the resistance always remains the same. Therefore you are supposed to increase the resistance as soon you can hold the plank for 90 seconds. You can do this by practicing more difficult variants of the plank. So your core muscles get new incentives, which make them to adapt – i. e. getting stronger.

 

 

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Cliffhanger

Do you remember Sylvester Stallone’s breath-taking stunts in «Cliffhanger»? Nevermind, if you don’t. Have a look at this picture and you will suddenly get aware of what it takes to be a leading actor in such a blockbuster.

Stallone_Cliffhanger

Of course, you have to be a great actor and you are supposed to be stress resistant, e. g. when you have to stay at the set a whole day to produce a few meagre minutes of your movie.

But to act as Gabe Walker in Cliffhanger you have to be an athlete – or at least look like one. In the picture above you see, why. Sylvester Stallone is hangig on a rock bank. Below him is nothing but some hunderds of meters of free fall into death. So, well developed arm, back, chest and core muscle are an assets. The bad news now is that avarage people won’t be in the position to free themselves of such a life-threatening without the help of somebody, who accidentely comes along. The good news is, however, that a) you most probably never get into a situation like Gabe Walker alias Sylvester Stallone, and b) there is an excellent exercise to prepare yourself for case, when the worst comes to the worst. And I’m sure that you know this exercise. Here is it:

Pull-up_CoastalCrossFit

Source: CostalCrossFit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many pull-ups do you have in you? Twenty? excellent! Ten? Impressive! Five? Okey, let’s talk about something else! Less than five? Poor guy … don’t worry. Let’s fix this. Here is your challenge:

  1. Define the number of pull-ups you want to perform in a row with – for instance – four months. For example you go for twenty reps in row.
  2. Block the time for your training on three or four days per week. One hour should be enough to start with. The stronger you get, the less time you need to do the exercise described in step three.
  3. Now, in each of the training sessions you do twenty pull-ups. Do not give up, keep on, try it as hard as you can, especially when you are a beginner, who can perform one pull-up ‚in a row‘ only. In this case you will have to do twenty sets, i. e. twenty times one pull-up. If you are in a good shape, yet, you need to do just two sets of ten reps, for example.
  4. The challenge is to reduce the number of sets to one by keeping the number of reps constant. That is: As a beginner you start with twenty sets of one rep and complete the challenge when you get one set of twenty reps.
  5. Important: Go in each set for the last rep you can perform in a propper manner. It may happen that you exceed twenty reps. For instance you do eighteen reps in two sets. In the third set you have enough power to do six additional reps. Then do them – i. e. don’t limit yourself to twenty reps when you can do twenty-four, because you have to check your limit to get stronger and, hence, to reduce the number of sets to one to complete the mission.
  6. However, if you feel sad during the exercise or if you feel tired, then refuse to follow your routine for an additional day. To sum up paragraphs five and six: Hit it hard, but don’t jeopardize you health!