When I play rugby, my main skill is running. I’m a small girl (5′ and 110 lbs) so tackling can be somewhat challenging for me. And I tend to play to my strengths. As a wing, I stay on the outside and often end up taking down people who break away from behind.

Focusing on running does not, however, mean that I don’t need to be strong. I still tackle and I still take hits. It’s especially important to focus on the area of my body that is most helpful in preventing injury: my core.

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One of my favorite ways of training my core is through planks. It’s a simple exercise that allows you to really settle and center while still putting in a lot of effort. When I first started, however, I thought planks were miserable and could only hold one for about 20 seconds. Over time I managed to build up strength, and got to the point that I could plank for 1:30 without crying.

I wanted more, though. So, when I saw this 30 day plank challenge on Greatist, I decided to go for it. I actually saw it in the middle of November, which just happened to align with my planking abilities at the time.

This regiment is challenging and certainly requires commitment, but it will result in fantastic core strength that will help you in all aspects of life. I’m actually taking it up again now, since I feel like I’ve been letting my abs go some.

Without further ado, I give you Greatist’s Plank Challenge:

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Consider rewarding yourself with a carefully crafted cocktail when to finally hit the 5 minute mark. I certainly will!

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