30 DAY PLANK CHALLENGE

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This week we decided to shake things up a bit and get people pumped with a 30 day plank challenge.  Are your ready for our 30 Day Plank Challenge?  We hope you are.  It will help boost your metabolism and engage and tone your core muscles.  It will make you feel more confident, stronger and stand taller.

The challenge is a progressive challenge, which means it gets progressively harder the further into the challenge you go.  We are going to begin the challenge gradually and by Day 30, you should be a plank machine.  You are only required to do the amount of time shown on the 30 day plank challenge chart, but for those who want more of a challenge, you can repeat the times indicated for as many reps as you want.  Be aware that the further along you get into the challenge the harder it will become to do multiple sets.  For those that are struggling, you can break the times into segments, but the goal is to eventually do the entire time in one go.

The 30 Day Plank Challenge can be done in the mornings or evenings or anytime that is convenient to you.  The objective is to complete each day and continue on for 30 days straight.  Every 6 days there is a scheduled rest day, where you have the option of resting or performing planks for the designated time.  If on a given day you find yourself unable to complete the day’s plank, simply add a day to the challenge.  The goal of the challenge is to try to stick with the plan, which requires commitment and dedication.  Given the fact that planks can be done just about anywhere, the only real excuse for not doing them is an injury.

30 Day Plank Challenge – Recommended Equipment

When performing a plank it’s recommended to have a non-slippery soft surface like a yoga mat although you can do planks just about anywhere with or without a mat.  We recommend doing planks either with shoes or barefoot.  Socks tends to slip and make it a little more difficult to hold a position for any length of time.

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30 Day Plank Challenge

There are 5 main levels of performing a plank and depending on your fitness level you can choose which one best suits your needs or you can combine different planks as desired.  Level 3 – 5 are advanced planks and should only be performed after fully mastering Level 2 planks.  You can also mix Levels to add variation into your planking workouts.

  • Level 1: Assisted Knee Forearm Plank
  • Level 2: Forearm Plank
  • Level 3: Single Leg Forearm Plank
  • Level 4: Single Arm Forearm Plank
  • Level 5: Single Arm, Single Leg Plank

Assisted Knee-Plank

 

Level 1 : Assisted Knee Forearm Planks – Level 1 planks are normally for beginners or for people who haven’t worked out in a while.  To perform a Level 1 plank start by lying on the floor and position your elbows beneath your shoulders. Lift your body off the ground from your forearms and knees.   Maintain a straight line by holding your body straight (head and neck should be in line with your back), keeping your abdominal muscles engaged.

Helpful Hints: To add additional stability focus on squeezing your gluteal muscles.

NOTE : If you find Level 1 planks a bit too challenging, another option is to perform the plank in the push-up position.   Performing the plank on your hands instead of your forearms may be more comfortable and easier to do.  When performing a push-up plank, your triceps and shoulders are more engaged.  You will feel your shoulders and triceps more and feel your core muscles less.  If you experience wrist pain, getting push-up bars might help alleviate the issue by pointing your thumbs toward the front, which will allow the wrists to be in a more neutral position.

The goal is to get to the point where you can do Level 1 planks on your forearms.

As you get stronger you will be able to move from Level 1 to Level 2 planks.

Forearm Plank Low Plank

Level 2 : Forearm Plank (Low Plank or Static Plank) – Level 2 forearm planks are sometimes called low planks, due to your body being closer to the ground.  A high plank is the position you would be in if you wanted to perform a pushup.  To perform a level 2 plank, start by lying on the floor and position your elbows beneath your shoulders.  Lift your body off the ground from your forearms and feet.  Maintain a straight line by holding your body straight (head, neck, shoulders and back should be in line with your feet), keeping your abdominal muscles engaged.

Helpful Hints: To add additional stability focus on squeezing your gluteal muscles.  Don’t over flex, relax your forearms and focus on your breath.  To add variety play around with forearm positioning.  Examples include having your forearms parallel to each other or in a triangle with hands touching.

If you’re unable to hold a Forearm Plank try doing a straight arm plank instead.  A straight arm plank looks like you’re getting ready to do pushups, where your arms are extended below you underneath your shoulders, with your hand flat on the floor.

Single Leg Forearm Plank

Level 3: Single Leg Forearm Plank – Level 3 planks are a more advanced form of planks and should only be attempted after mastering the Level 2 planks.  Level 3 planks involve both balance and strength.  To perform Level 3 planks, start in the Level 2 plank position, with forearms and feet firmly grounded and slowly extend either your left or right leg behind you and up.  Maintain proper positioning and resist the urge to rotate your hips to the left or right.

Helpful Hints: Make sure you have mastered Level 2 planks.  You can play around with leg elevation to feel the changes the different angles make.  As you extend your leg out, visualize an object that your trying to reach with your toes.

Single Arm Forearm Plank.pg

Level 4: Single Arm Forearm Plank – Level 4 planks are a more advanced form of planks and should only be attempted after mastering the Level 2 planks.  Level 4 planks involve both balance and strength. To perform Level 4 planks, start in the Level 2 plank position, with forearms and feet firmly grounded and slowly extend either your left or right arm in front of you.   Maintain proper positioning and resist the urge to rotate your hips to the left or right.

Helpful Hints: Make sure you have mastered Level 2 planks.  You can play around with hand positioning as you extend your hand outward by either placing the palm of the hand facing down or to the side.  As you reach out visualize an object that your trying to reach out to.

Level 5, Single Arm, Single Leg Plank – Level 5 planks are the most advanced form of planks and should only be attempted after mastering Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 planks.  Level 4 planks involve a lot of balance and elements of both Level 3 and Level 4 planks.  To perform Level 5 planks, start in the Level 2 plank position, with forearms and feet firmly grounded and slowly extend either your left or right arm in front of you and raise the opposite left or right leg.  Maintain proper positioning and resist the urge to rotate your hips to the left or right.

Helpful Hints: Make sure you have mastered Level 2, 3 and 4 planks.  You can play around with hand positioning as you extend your hand outward by either placing the palm of the hand facing down or to the side.  As you reach out visualize an object that your trying to reach out to.

30 Day Plank Challenge Motivational Tips

  • Print Out the Challenge and put it up somewhere that you will see it every morning and night.
  • Have a friend or family member join in the fun or at least keep you accountable.
  • Post to social media with your progress.  People will like or comment on it, giving you renewed enthusiasm.
  • If you miss a day, don’t worry, just add another day to the plan and keep going.

Please follow the 30 day plank challenge chart above, and let us know how your progress is going by sending us a Tweet, Instagram or Facebook post.  You can also post to this article.

 

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Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about running, cycling and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day. Location: Austin, TX USA

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Thus far we are having a fantastic time with this challenge. We have 15+ people participating, which helps to motivate each other.

    Some people are getting crazy nervous about the times. 40 seconds is already feeling like a long time.

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