I’ve “planked” before, but not regularly or where I was concentrating on increasing the time, like in this exercise routine. Love that it’s so simple to get involved and really requires nothing other than just remembering to do it. With the way the weather is outside, at least in my part of the country, it’s nice to have an easy routine you can do inside during the winter months to help stay in shape. Several of my friends started this 30-day challenge at the same time I did, and it’s been fun to leave updates on FB on how we’re doing, plus their comments serve to remind me to “get plankin’.” I just finished Day 5, …..tomorrow is rest day. Yea!
30 DAY PLANK CHALLENGE
Take up this 30 day plank challenge this month and tone up and boost your core muscles to the max.
The plank challenge is our most popular 30 day fitness challenge and has been taken by over 100,000 people over the past 12 months, so why not give it ago for yourself.
The challenge only has 1 exercise which you have to do each day, and the time spent doing the exercise slowly increases day by day to help you build up your core body muscle strength gradually, ensuring you are able to complete the final day of the challenge easily.
You only have to do the amount of time shown on the challenge chart once per day, however if you are feeling brave then you can repeat each days challenge as many times as you like – however remember by day 30 it will be very hard to do multiple times.
Please follow the challenge chart below each day, and let us know how your progress goes on by tweeting us @30dayfitness with the hashtag #30dayfitness.
PLANK VIDEO DEMONSTRATION
THE 30 DAY PLANK CHALLENGE
The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof! Yes, all you have to do is HOLD this position, nothing else! It looks pretty easy, but it isn’t!
Day 1 – 20 seconds
Day 2 – 20 seconds
Day 3 – 30 seconds
Day 4 – 30 seconds
Day 5 – 40 seconds
Day 6 – REST
Day 7 – 45 seconds
Day 8 – 45 seconds
Day 9 – 60 seconds
Day 10 – 60 seconds
Day 11 – 60 seconds
Day 12 – 90 seconds
Day 13 – REST
Day 14 – 90 seconds
Day 15 – 90 seconds
Day 16 – 120 seconds
Day 17 – 120 seconds
Day 18 – 150 seconds
Day 19 – REST
Day 20 – 150 seconds
Day 21 – 150 seconds
Day 22 – 180 seconds
Day 23 – 180 seconds
Day 24 – 210 seconds
Day 25 – 210 seconds
Day 26 – REST
Day 27 – 240 seconds
Day 28 – 240 seconds
Day 29 – 270 seconds
Day 30 – 300 seconds or PLANK FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!
Benefits of Plank Exercise:
*It strengthens your lower back
*It develops your core muscles – which include the abs, back, hips and the butt.
*Helps you to avoid injuries and encourages good posture
*Can be done anywhere
*Develops your abdominals by targeting the rectus abdominis
And here’s an excerpt from an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola with more on planking:
The plank is one of several fitness tests that can give you an indication of your potential health risks. If you cannot hold plank position for two minutes, you’re likely lacking in core strength, which is important for overall movement stability and strength.
Being unable to hold a plank for two minutes may also indicate that you’re carrying too much weight, and would benefit from shedding a few pounds.
Planking engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it a very efficient and effective core-strengthening exercise. As discussed in a recent Huffington Post blog, you can also perform the plank in different directions: front, side, and reverse—each direction engaging different sets of muscles for all-around toning and strengthening.
The front-facing plank engages the following upper and lower body areas: abdominals, lower back, chest, shoulders, upper trapezius and neck, biceps, triceps, glutes, thighs, and calves. Side planking is particularly effective for training your obliques, which really helps stabilize your spine, while the reverse plank places the focus on your glutes, hamstrings, abs, and lower back.
Proper form is important, however, and overdoing it could lead to injury. Be particularly careful if you already have a bad back. You want to start off holding the plank position for several seconds, slowly working your way up to where you can hold it for about two minutes. As noted by Estelle Underwood in the featured article:3
“If you feel any neck or low back pain while doing the exercise, this may be an indication of weakness in the upper or lower regions of the spine. If the core is too weak, the spine will sag, causing compression in the vertebrae, pressure on vertebral discs, and/or shoulder joint inflammation.”
Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for that six-pack look. (Keep in mind, however, that in order to really get “six-pack” abs, you have to shed fat. Men need to get their body fat down to about six percent, and women around nine percent in order to achieve that classic six-pack.) Here are two key points for performing a front-facing plank correctly:
- While in plank position, pull in your bellybutton. Your bellybutton is attached to your transverse abdominis, that inner sheath that holds your gut inside and gives your spine and vertebrae a nice, weight belt-tightening type of support.
So by pulling it in, you begin to contract that deep inner transverse abdominis muscle. If you want to work your six-pack rectus abdominis muscle, drive your chin down toward your toes while you’re focused on squeezing your bellybutton in.
- Next, do a Kegel squeeze. More women than men might be familiar with this term. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight. For men who aren’t familiar with that term, it’s similar to trying to stop urinating in the middle of the flow. This squeeze will allow you to feel and focus on your abdominal muscles.
To perform a side plank, start by lying down on your right side, keeping your legs straight. Next, raise yourself up on your right forearm; your body should form a straight, diagonal line from head to toe. Your hips and knees should be off the floor. You can rest your left hand on the floor in front of you for support, on your hip, or behind your head. Brace your abs and hold for one minute.
For the reverse plank, start out by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Placing your palms on the floor, below your shoulders, squeeze your buttocks and thighs, and then push your body up into a reverse plank position.
Alternatively, you can begin placing your elbows rather than your hands on the floor, for a less dramatic lift. Again, keep your body in a straight diagonal line from shoulders to heels, making sure your hips are in line.
Go here for the full article and a video on different plank positions. And if you are new to planking, Dr. Mercola has an in-depth article for beginners you can access here.
Want more poses? Check out this article of the recommended top 10 poses to do (the plank is included in the list):
And be sure to visit these Self-help Health posts for more on planking and some yoga poses that help to unkink the body and burn fat:
p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.
Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.