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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25-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout

25-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP WorkoutHappy St. Paddy’s Day! In Boston, it always seems like the official St. Paddy’s is the Sunday of the Southie Parade (yesterday), so I’m kinda all greened out today. Normally the parade means lots of beer, half melted green jello shots, me getting lost at some point in the day, waking up the next morning wearing the same greens clothes as the day before, and napping with my head on the keyboard during the following work day. But this year I taught in the morning, had a few beers when I got back to Southie, made some butternut squash and quinoa for dinner, went to bed at 9pm, and woke up early this morning to teach again. The hell??! Apparently I’ve grown up. Sad.

Anyway, on to our THIRD weekly workout challenge giveaway! I’ll post the giveaway entry post later today (get excited—even more prizes!), but for now let’s go over this week’s workout. And congrats to Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate for winning last week’s giveaway! Check your email inbox for a message from me. :)

25-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout

Set a timer for 25 minutes and complete as many rounds of the following circuit as you can. I like to keep a piece of paper and pen nearby so I can make a tally mark each time I finish a round (much easier to keep track that way!). I made it through 6 full rounds and into the jack squats on the 7th. Try to beat me!

25-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout

  • 20 Alternating Skaters (10 to each side): Leap to the right, landing on your right leg and fluidly bringing your left leg behind it and touching the ground with your left hand. Repeat in the opposite direction.
  • 10 Inchworm Pushups: Start standing up, feet hip-width apart. Bend over, placing your hands on the ground in front of your toes. Walk your hands out into a plank position. Do a push up (drop to your knees for this if necessary). Walk hands back towards feet and then stand upright.
  • 10 Jack Jumps (2 Jumping Jacks, 2 UK Squats): Do two jumping jacks then bend down, placing hands on either side of your feet. Jump feet back into a plank position. Do that one more time (jump feet up towards hand then back into plank position). Jump feet up towards hands and stand up. That’s one rep. Then start back on the jumping jacks.
  • 10 Side Plank Kicks (each side): Start in a plank position, top arm outstretched overhead and top leg hovering off the ground. Kick that top leg straight out in front of your body, bringing your top hand to meet it. Return to starting position.

25-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout

WEARING:  legings: c/o Ellie (get 20% off your first order with code nicoleperr20!) // hoodie: Lululemon // shoes: Asics c/o OnlineShoes.com

Like I mentioned last week, if you use the code nicoleperr20, you can get 20% off your first order with Ellie! I’m a huge fan of their workout gear (especially the leggings—so cute and comfortable!).

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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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