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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The Bachelor Workout

The Bachelor Workout (like a drinking game--only heathy!)I got a reader request for a Bachelor workout (remember the Dexter and True Blood workouts I made last year?), and honestly can’t believe I hadn’t already made like seven at this point. Now in its 147th season, The Bachelor is SO predictable, but something about it just never gets old (this is coming from the girl who still watches Survivor…).

If you’ve been watching this season, back me up: Juan Pablo is perfect. I mean, he’s sensitive, kind, silly, athletic, handsome, HAS AN ACCENT—he’s easily in the top 3 (maybe even top 1?) of all Bachelors. And every time I look at his hair and don’t see Bachelor Ben’s middle part, I can’t help but smile.

The Bachelor Workout

This workout is set up much like a drinking game, expect instead of taking a shot every time X happens during the episode, you do a given number of reps of the corresponding exercise. But hey, if you want to take a shot as well, reach for the stars, kiddo.

The Bachelor Workout (like a drinking game--only heathy!)

Here are the rules:

Every time…

Someone cries…20 Windshield Wipers (10 to each side)

  • Lay on back, legs perpendicular to the ground and arms outstretched for support. Lower your legs to the right, twisting your hips, until they are just hovering above the ground. Lift back to starting position and over to the left side. Continue back and forth in a windshield-wiper motion.

Someone tries to turn a date/activity into an analogy for falling in love (“Bungee jumping is a lot like being in love because, like, it’s scary.”)20 Jump Lunges

  • Start in a lunge position and jump up, landing back in a lunge position with the opposite leg in front. Knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle; watch you don’t bang your back knee on the ground.

Juan Pablo speaks and/or sings in Spanish…10 Spiderman Pushups

  • As you lower down into a pushup, bring right knee in towards right elbow. Release back into a plank position as you rise up. Repeat on left side.

One of the girls talks shit about another girl…10 Burpees

  • Squat down, placing hands flat on the ground in front of you. Jump back into a plank position, jump back up to squatting, then stand up and jump with your arms in the air.

A rose is given…20 Mountain Climbers (10 sets)

  • In plank position, bring one knee forward and then switch quickly, in a horizontal running motion.

Someone mentions Camila…20 Crab Kicks (10 each leg)

  • Start on all fours in the crab walk position. Kick one leg up and then the other, alternating at a quick pace. This is meant to get your heart rate up, and in keeping with this fast pace, there should be a “jumping” of the feet as you kick from one foot to the other.

Juan Pablo kisses one of the girls…40 Bicycle Crunches (20 sets)

  • Lay on back, hands behind head. When you crunch up towards your bent left knee, your right leg should be extended out and not touching the ground. Switch sides, crunching over towards the right with your left leg extended. Continue in a fluid, cycling motion.

Juan Pablo is shirtless…10 side plank lifts on each side

  • Start in a side plank position. Lower your hips towards the ground, and then lift upwards, crunching into an arch passed your original straight plank position. Continue lowering and raising.

Someone says “I think I’m falling in love” / “I’m in love” / “I’m starting to fall in love” / etc. (Relax, you’ve known each other for like three weeks)10 V-Up Crunches

  • To do a V-Up, you start on your back with arms stretched out overhead and legs hovering just slightly above the ground. You’ll then crunch up, bringing your hands towards your toes (keeping legs and arms straight). When done correctly, your body will make a “v” shape as you crunch; this means you’re not just reaching your arms up, your chest needs to move towards your knees. Lower back down to starting position. If possible, your feet should never touch the ground.

You find yourself thinking about how much better of a match you’d be for Juan Pablo than [insert contestant’s name here]…20 Frog Hops

  • Squat down, legs wide apart, with fingers touching ground. Jump upward like frog and land back in starting deep squat position.

Enjoy tonight’s episode! I’ve got a normal workout coming your way Wednesday for all of you who don’t watch this mind-numbingly stupid but strangely addicting show.

Do you watch The Bachelor? What do you think of Juan Pablo??

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Dexter Workout

The new season of Dexter premiers this Sunday, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by making a drinking workout game in its honor. (You may recall I did the same thing for True Blood because—if you haven’t noticed by now—I am a huge nerd.)

I like Dexter because I’ve always thought I would make a phenomenal criminal. I wouldn’t take the serial killer route of course, but I sincerely would LOVE to pull off an Oceans-11 type of heist. Just for fun. I’d give the money back after the joy of scheming was over. Well, maybe I’d buy my pathetically bare apartment a couch first and then return the rest of the money.

  • Dexter kills someone = 10 competition burpees. This is a traditional burpee, only you lower yourself all the way down to the ground so that you’re laying on your stomach, and then you’ll power up into the squat position (much the way a surfer springs up from stomach to feet). So the full move is: Squat down with hands on ground; jump back into a plank position, smoothly lowering yourself onto your stomach; spring from stomach to feet, powering back up into the squat position; jump up, reaching arms towards ceiling.
  • Deb drops the F bomb = 20 high knees. Like running in place, only bring your knees up to about belly-button height.
  • Harry makes an appearance = 20 alternating twist lunges. Step forward into a lunge position, arms outstretched. Twist to one side. Twist back to front, step back up, and repeat on the other side.
  • Vince Masuka says something perverted = 10 jumping-jack push-ups. As you lower your body, jump your legs out wide (keeping body in straight plank position), and as you push your body back up, jump legs back together.
  • Dexter mentions his Dark Passenger = 20 pulse squats. Stay in a squat position and pulse up and down. Your range of motion should be no more than six inches.
  • Angel or Laguerta speak in Spanish = 10 full-body side crunches on each side. Start by laying on your side with bottom arm outstretched for balance/support and top arm bent behind your head. Legs should be lifted together, hovering over the ground. Crunch your torso up, bending your knees and bringing them in to meet your elbow. Lower back down, stretching legs out (but keeping them lifted off the ground).
  • The blood slides come out = 10 superman planks. Start in a plank position. Slowly lift one leg and the opposite arm. Repeat with opposite leg/arm.

Sorry in advance for making you do 10,000 high knees. We all know Debra has the mouth of a truck driver.

Enjoy the premiere Sunday night!