Last week, we talked about planks. Planks are a great way to begin working on increasing the strength of your core—the muscles that keep you upright and stable. So, what comes next? After you build stability, next you need to work on mobility, also known as movement. According to Jonathan Ross, author of Abs Revealed: “Static planks are like the first grade of core training and you shouldn’t stay in first grade forever. Life is movement so effective exercise—including core-training—should always progress toward movement.” Therefore in our workouts, we should be constantly building on the exercises we’re doing in order to keep strengthening our muscles,
Using our example of planks, you can add mobility (movement) in a variety of ways. You can do a plank tap. Begin in a plank position, but this time, rather than rest on your forearms, place your hands on your mat, directly beneath your shoulders. Then extend your right foot to the right, tap toe on floor, keeping your upper body stable, and then, return to the starting position. Repeat on left side with left foot. Keep alternating toe taps for 30-60 seconds. Do 1-2 more sets.
After the plank tap move becomes a little more familiar and perhaps easier to do, you can advance to a plank jack. Begin in plank position. Keeping upper body stable, simultaneously jump both feet out wide, then jump the feet back together to original plank position. Repeat for 30-60 seconds. Do 1-2 more sets.
Do you see how the exercises build on each other, yet with each exercise, you still return to the original plank position? The same is true for our faith walks. Peter tells us:
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:5 – 8 (NIV)
To our faith, we must be adding action, or movement, as well. These actions—goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love—don’t come easily. It takes hard and intention. All of these actions build on each other but it’s difficult to have any of them if you don’t begin with the basic step first—FAITH.
The great thing is our salvation doesn’t depend on the work we do. But God does desire us to be active in our faith. We don’t conquer one thing on the list and then go on to the next. All of these actions need to be a part of a believer’s life. The same can be said for our exercises that we do. We can always return to the basics (and periodically, we should return to them), but it’s just as important to keep adding new movements or actions so that our strength and our faith will keep growing and getting stronger.