Planks are one of the best core exercises you can do. In fact, it isn’t just a powerhouse exercise for your core, but for your posture, balance and mood! In this article, you’ll learn the many additional benefits it can offer you, and how to successfully complete a 30-day plank challenge—allowing you to transform your fitness!
The Power of Planks
Planks, which consist of being in modified push-up position (making sure you’re resting on your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your forearms balanced on the floor), can allow you to significantly build up your abdominal muscles like no other exercise can. Planks can also reduce back pain, because as you build up your ‘plank tolerance’, you’ll strengthen upper back muscle group, which will help to alleviate your entire back muscles as a whole. If you’re a beginner, aim to hold this position for 30 seconds, and as your plank challenge goes on, increase the length of time gradually. Becoming a plank powerhouse will improve your stamina for any type of workout, or lifestyle you lead!
Guidelines For Your Plank Challenge
It’s the same with any fitness challenge you execute: start off at your ‘comfort’ level and work your way up every other day by focusing on your form to minimize injury. Make benchmarks of success for yourself by ‘testing’ your progress at the end of every week consistently. If you have a challenging day, don’t let that determine how well you’re doing or how far you have yet to come. Wait until the end of the week to see how you’ve improved, instead. Lastly, devote time every single day (preferably at the same time every day) to your planks, and follow this guide along the way:
• Day 1-7. The important thing as you begin the plank challenge is to begin wherever you are, fitness wise. If you have a weak core, focus on your form and ensure you’re positioning yourself correctly. For the first 5 days, aim your goal for a 30-second hold, and repeat that hold for 4X. For days 6 and 7, increase that hold for a minute and repeat that hold 5X.
• Days 8-20. Day 8 should be a rest day, and days 9-12 should be shorter in duration, with 3X of 35-second holds. On days 13-20, switch it up by starting off with a plank for 30 seconds (3X) and then move to a side plank, 3X on each side.
• Days 21-30. Give yourself a rest day on day 21. On days 22-27, challenge yourself by holding your side plank (3X on each side) for 45 seconds. Move back to the traditional plank by holding it for 3 minutes. This is a long one, but you will see your progress—and you should be proud of it! Give yourself a day of rest on day 28. Day 29 and 30 should be focused on a walking plank for 35 seconds, followed by a side plank (3X on each side) for one minute, followed by the traditional plank (3X) for one minute.
Make sure to record your progress each week, and take a minute to be proud of every single victory. You deserve it. Planks aren’t easy, but through this 30-day plank challenge, you’ll soon see changes in your body, your mood and your confidence.