I often hear various reasons or barriers of why people do not want to try CrossFit or other heavy-lifting classes. One of the most common is the idea that people MUST already be in great physical condition before trying a class. I know there are many different CrossFit franchises and each one is different. One thing they should have in common is the ability to scale ANY workout for ANY fitness level. If your CrossFit gym is not beginner-friendly, it’s time to find a new one.
That being said, I understand that inner voice that says “you don’t want to be the (insert adjective)______ in the room”. It should be that way. We should feel confident and confortable taking those first steps into a new fitness journey. But if it was that easy, everyone would be joining us. So what’s something we CAN do?
If there was 1 exercise that works many different muscle groups, it is the plank. It won’t get you ripped in 2 weeks, but it does something even better that the mirror won’t immediately show. CORE STABILITY. Just a few minutes a day works on strengthening the core ab and back muscles. You NEED those for CrossFit. You NEED those for posture, walking, breathing. You NEED core stability for injury prevention. So while you are working up the brass tacks to walk into a new work of fitness/strength training, grab 5 minutes in the bathroom if you have to, and drop into a plank. You will be AMAZED at the muscles you’ll feel the next morning.
The BASIC forearm plank is a great place to start. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t hold it long. Get your phone timer and time your first attempt. Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Do this for 5 minutes. RECORD your times. Nothing and I do mean NOTHING is more motivating than seeing rock solid proof in print that you are improving. Those non-scale-victories will happen sooner than the ones measured by compliments or mirrors. Better yet, you’ll feel awesome because you’ll be walking taller with a stronger core.
Jazz things up with a straight-arm plank. Follow the same workout as the basic. WRITE IT DOWN!!
By the time you are ready for this variation, you should be consistently doing strength work (home, gym, class, etc). This is so much harder than it looks. And it is absolutely a goal to put on your vision board and strive hard to reach.
The power of the plank is usually realized a few weeks of steady use. I love heavy lifting. I love using weights for legs. What I lack the most is core stability and I know from previous experience that the powerful plank is the first key to improving that stability.