Dynamic 30-Day Plank Challenge

30-Day Plank ChallengeThis brutal Boston winter has honestly left me feeling a little uninspired when it comes to working out. I’m craving a routine refresh, and one of my favorite ways to do this is to start working towards a specific goal. Now that (fingers crossed!) I think the weather is taking a turn for the warmer, I’m feeling really motivated to switch things up and start working out with a defined purpose in mind. I’ve already decided to start training for another half marathon (more on that to come), and I thought setting up a 30-day plank challenge would be another way to add quick daily goals to my routine.

Dynamic 30-Day Plank Challenge

Dynamic 30-Day Plank ChallengeThere are plank and squat challenges all over the Internet, but I wanted to switch mine up a little bit. Instead of simply holding a plank position for a designated amount of seconds, you’ll do three different plank variations (each for the same length of time. Start on your forearms in an elbow plank, move into a walking plank (forearms to hands, up and down), and then finish in a standard plank on your hands. No breaks in between the three parts! I’ve also included three different levels of difficulty in the challenge so that you have some options when picking your poison.

To clarify, let’s take Day 1 as an example. You’re going to do each of the three moves for 10 seconds. So that’s 30 seconds total. If you’re following the intermediate challenge, you’ll take a 20-second break after your 30-second dynamic plank, and then do it again. If you’re following the advanced challenge, you’ll do a total of 3 rounds, resting for 15 seconds in between each.

Elbow Plank

30-day-plank-challenge-2This is your starting position. Place forearms on the ground with palms facing down, elbows under shoulders. Lift body up, core tight, not letting your back sag or, alternatively, your butt rise too far up.

Walking Plank (Forearms to Hands, Up and Down)

30-day-plank-challenge-3From the elbow plank, you’ll go right into a walking plank. Place one hand at a time underneath your shoulders, bringing body up into a standard plank position, arms straight (think push up position). Return back to elbow plank position, bringing one arm at a time back down onto the forearm. Alternate your lead hand each time you do these.

As you walk your hands up and down, focus on trying to keep your hips level, facing the ground. The less you rock back and forth, the harder your core and arms will have to work—and that’s what we want!

Standard Plank

30-day-plank-challenge-1Finish in a plank position, hands on the floor underneath your shoulders, holding core in tight, not letting your hips sag down or your butt lift too far up. Think of your head down to your heels being in one straight, inclined line.

By the 30th day, you’ll be holding a plank for 4 minutes total—80 sec in each of the three exercises. Yikes! :) Let me know if you guys try it out! I think I’m going to start it when I begin my half marathon training.

UPDATE: One reader suggested we make a hashtag for this plank challenge so everyone can follow the activity on social media–love that! I’m going to give a nod to the Entourage glory days and go with #letsplankitout

Get tagging and planking!

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WEARING | c/o Forever21: sneakers / leggings / bra / tank

I’m wearing head-to-toe Forever21 in these plank pics (courtesy of the awesome people over at F21), and have to say how impressed I am by their activewear selection. The line is on-trend and, as always with Forever21, is unbelievably affordable. My entire outfit—sneakers, leggings, sports bra and tank—sells for $72 total! Definitely browse through their activewear selection next time you want to affordably revamp your workout wardrobe. Lots of their styles come in tons of color variations, making F21 a good option if you need basics, too. If you’re like me, and tend to impulsively buy ridiculous items like neon-leopard-printed-fringed workout leggings, it’s important to have basic, solid-colored tanks to balance out the outfit haha.

I’ve included direct links to each item I’m wearing above (except the sports bra; it’s sold out), and you can also view the whole activewear collection here. The tank is probably my favorite item—I love low-cut sides on muscle tanks and racerbacks because it allows for fun layering with whatever sports bra color/patter you choose.

Have you done a plank challenge before? What’d you think?

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Comments

  1. Love it. I’ve previously posted a 4 minute high-low plank challenge but I can always go for more! Planks are such a great exercise – no matter how they are performed. This challenge right here looks like a great challenge to help master the plank!

  2. What a great challenge. My longest plank hold is just over 5 minutes. I’m working back up to that goal again and this challenge is the perfect way to help me get there!

  3. Great challenge! I usually do planks for 90 seconds so I think I’m going to try the “advanced” level and see how I do!

  4. Awesome challenge, definitely going to try this out

  5. Katie Mitchell says:

    What is the point in holding a plank for 4 minutes? Is there a benefit to doing that or is it just a fun challenge?

    • Planking has tons of benefits beyond the obvious improvement of core strength. The longer you hold, the stronger the muscles along the front of your body are. This helps improve joint stabilization and even flexibility of some of your posterior muscles. The duration also “trains” your muscles for better posture throughout the entire day.

    • I’d say a little bit of both. Long-held poses (planks in this case) recruit deep stabilization muscles–strengthening these is great for improving balance, posture and overall coordination. Now, can you effectively work these muscles in less time? Yes, probably. That’s where the fun of a challenge comes in. :)

  6. Is there going to be a hashtag for the challenge? It’d be fun to be able to see all the tweets/instagrams/etc… from folks participating!

    • I love that idea! I’ll update the post now with one. I searched around in Insta/Twitter for one that isn’t already taken. I’m going to reference the glory days of Entourage and go with #letsplankitout :)

  7. What a great challenge! I’ve been a bit of a wuss with planks since, well, forever, but I’m still willing to try out this challenge!

  8. Love the tank!

  9. This looks challenging. Walking hand planks is my fave! Here is a link to a few more plank variations

    http://www.inallofhersplendor.com/2014/03/19/i-heart-planks-6-different-ways-to-plank/

  10. yippee yippee yippee…this is exactly what I need and I had been looking at ab challenges online for ages thinking about starting one (but clearly not doing it) and now I have no excuse at all!

    PS.I didn’t even know F21 made workout clothes but I am defo going to have a wee look!

    • I think they just recently started getting into the workout clothing–I bought a workout jacket from them last year, but the selection has definitely expanded since then!

  11. So helpful!!!

  12. Ah great i printed this one out, gonna try it and see my waist slim in ;-)

  13. My husband and I are on day 8 and I have to say…holy hell! Great workout but we look at each other with complete and utter terror when it is time to increase by a mere 5 seconds. We may be regretting doing the “advanced” sequence but we just remind each other that our abs will freakin’ rock when this is all over with!

    • You know it! And if you have a total “what the hell was I thinking” moment, you can always take longer breaks between each set in the advanced route. :)

  14. Excited about this! Starting this today for the month of April….adding it to my calendar :)

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