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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12-Minute Kettlebell Blast Workout

12-Minute Kettlebell Blast WorkoutAs last week’s 15-Min AMRAP proved, a workout doesn’t have to be long to kick your butt. This one doesn’t require a lot a time, a lot of space, or a lot of equipment—just one kettlebell. Enjoy!

12-Minute Kettlebell Blast Workout

Equipment I Used:

Set an interval timer for 12 rounds of 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. Push yourself to complete as many reps of each exercise as possible (without sacrificing form) in the 50 seconds. You’ll go through the following circuit four times.

12-Minute Kettlebell Blast Workout

  • Alternating One-Arm Swings: Hold kettlebell in right hand with legs a little more than shoulder-width apart. Start with kettlebell down between your legs and, using your arms as a pendulum, swing the bell to eye level by powering through with your hips and legs while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. When the kettlebell is at its highest point, it will be momentarily “weightless”—this is when you’re going to grab it with your left hand, letting go of the right. Swing back down and repeat; always switching hands at the top. At the bottom of your swing, your thumb should be pointing back through your legs.
  • Marching Wall Sits: With back flat against the wall, squat into seated position, holding the kettlebell at your chest. Lift one knee up then the other, and continue to alternate in a marching rhythm. Make sure to keep your feet under your knees throughout—it’s more challenging this way. If marching is too hard, just hold the wall sit.
  • High Pulls (same arm for entire interval; switch next time through circuit): Start with feet hip-width apart with kettlebell on the floor in front of you. I use a 20-lb bell for these. Bend with your knees keeping back straight, grab and kettlebell, and power up, standing as you pull your elbow up, bringing the kettlebell up towards the side of your face. In a controlled movement, lower back to starting position. Switch arms during your next time through the circuit (in other words, you’ll do each arm twice in this workout).

12-Minute Kettlebell Blast Workout

A big thanks to Puma for outfitting me for today’s workout! Gotta love the slimming effects of an all-black ensemble, am I right or amirite?? I’m wearing the Faas 300 v3 Running Shoe (which besides being cute are also super comfy and lightweight), Pure ¾ Tights & Gym ACTV Power Tank Top. The tank gives you the benefits of compression with interior athletic tape—I just like that the tape makes it so that the shirt doesn’t ride up or roll up when I’m jumping around or getting into weird exercise positions (which, you’ve probably noticed, is frequently haha).

12-Minute Kettlebell Blast Workout

 

What’s your favorite way to workout when you’re in a time crunch?

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Tabata Towel Workout

Tabata Towel WorkoutRemember the Towel Workout I posted last year? Despite the tragic photography lighting, it was a huge hit around the interwebs, and I think it’s high time to whip out the old dishrag again. And lucky you, this one is (in my opinion) even harder than the first. I was really feeling the burn.

I pretty much just invented these moves on the fly, but if you’ve seen them before just humor me and pretend I’m the mad scientist of ghetto-rigging household items into workout equipment.

Tabata Towel Workout

Equipment I Used:

Set an interval timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. You’ll do the same exercise all 8 rounds (4 minutes total) before moving onto the next exercise. The whole workout takes 20 minutes.

Tabata Towel Workout

  • Dancing One-Leg Squat (right): Squat down, all the weight on your right leg, towel under your left toes (keep left heel lifted throughout this exercise). Slide your left leg out to the side, keeping weight on the right. Slide it back in to the starting position, then slide it out in back of you as far as you can, and again back to starting position. Essentially, you’re holding a one-leg squat on the right, weight never shifting more than lightly to your left leg.
  • Dancing One-Leg Squat (left)
  • Side-to-Side Sliding Planks: Start in a plank with the towel under both feet. Slide both feet up to the right side, back to starting plank position, and then up to the left side. Think about tracing a V shape with your feet.
  • Triceps Scissor Push Ups (alternate arms each round): I did these from my knees but if you’re a total animal try them from your feet. Start in pushup position with towel under one hand. Slide the towel hand out, keeping arm straight. As you do, lower into a triceps pushup on the other hand (sending the elbow back and close to your body, not out. Push up, sliding other hand back in under your shoulders. Repeat. You’ll switch arms during the next interval (so it comes out to 4 rounds on the right, 4 rounds on the left).
  • Boat Pose Heel Sliders: Sit on your tailbone, leaning torso back at an angle engaging your abs. Hold arms straight out in front of you. With heels lightly on the towel, slide your legs out straight and then bend knees in towards chest, sliding heels in towards butt. The challenge is to not lift your heels off the ground or rock your torso (you’ll want to lean back and sit forward to counter the motion of your legs—resist it!).

Tabata Towel Workout

WEARING | shoes: Nike Free +3 // capris: c/o Puma // tank: Juicy Couture

Granted, my upper body strength leaves a lot to be desired, but the triceps scissor pushups were BRUTAL. In a good way.

What’s the weirdest item you’ve used as workout “equipment”?

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