This 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
There 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.
This 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)
From 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!
Finish 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!
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?