Planks are a common exercise for improving core strength and development. It also provides benefits for the hips, shoulders, spine, and posterior chain (backside of the body). Plus, it helps to improve full-body stabilization (when done properly).
So if your goal is to be stronger, better at athletics, prevent injuries and reduce pain, planks are a recommended addition to your daily regime.
Now, for this challenge, the longest you’ll hold a plank is three minutes (last day of the challenge). And by practicing planks every day, you’ll be able to do this easily, in no time. If you don’t have much experience with planks, then this might sound difficult simply because we’re proposing it as a challenge. But you should know that the world record for a plank is 8+ hours, which was achieved by 62-year-old marine George Hood in February 2020.
We’re not asking you to attempt to hold a plank for anything remotely close to that and most people can do this. So… you ready?
This challenge was actually created by top U.K. based fitness influencer Paul Olima. It consists of doing basic planks at first, followed by a combination of variations (walking and Superman planks) for the remaining duration of the challenge. You’ll start small and work your way up to a three-minute plank which will be the last test on day 30.
More advanced exercisers probably won’t find this difficult at all but it’s great for those newer to training or for those who just want to switch things up a little. Feel free to test yourself with longer holds following the 30 days and implement new variations to continue to challenge yourself.
Here are the details of the challenge…
|Day 1||60-sec plank|
|Day 2||70-sec plank|
|Day 3||80-sec plank|
|Day 4||90-sec plank|
|Day 5||2 x 60-sec plank|
|Day 6||2 x 70-sec plank|
|Day 7||2 x 80-sec plank|
|Day 8||2 x 90-sec plank|
|Day 9||2-min plank|
|Day 10||60-sec walking plank|
|Day 11||70-sec walking plank|
|Day 12||80-sec walking plank|
|Day 13||90-sec walking plank|
|Day 14||60-sec plank + 30-sec walking plank|
|Day 15||70-sec plank + 30-sec walking plank|
|Day 16||70-sec plank + 35-sec walking plank|
|Day 17||70-sec plank + 40-sec walking plank|
|Day 18||75-sec plank + 40-sec walking plank|
|Day 19||80-sec plank + 40-sec walking plank|
|Day 20||60-sec plank + 30-sec walking plank + 10-sec (each side) Superman plank|
|Day 21||70-sec plank + 30-sec walking plank + 15-sec Superman plank|
|Day 22||70-sec plank + 35-sec walking plank + 15-sec Superman plank|
|Day 23||70-sec plank + 35-sec walking plank + 20-sec Superman plank|
|Day 24||75-sec plank + 35-sec walking plank + 20-sec Superman plank|
|Day 25||75-sec plank + 40-sec walking plank + 20-sec Superman plank|
|Day 26||80-sec plank + 40-sec walking plank + 20-sec Superman plank|
|Day 27||80-sec plank + 40-sec walking plank + 25-sec Superman plank|
|Day 28||85-sec plank + 45-sec walking plank + 25-sec Superman plank|
|Day 29||90-sec plank + 45-sec walking plank + 30-sec Superman plank|
|Day 30||3-min plank|
How To do An Effective, Basic Plank
The basic (front) plank is a simple exercise that involves holding one position.
- Get into a push-up position but rather than placing your hands on the floor, support your body weight with your forearms.
- Tuck your chin, push your shoulder blades forward and back, and maintain a neutral torso.
- Flex your quads and glutes to remain rigid and protect your lower back.
- Hold this position.
How To Do The Walking Plank
From the information we have on this exercise based on how it’s done in the program, this plank variation involves going from a basic plank to a high plank or starting position for a push-up. Then, you’ll return to the basic plank position and repeat for the prescribed time.
We understand there may be different names for this variation.
Here’s a video example…
How To Do The Superman Plank
There are several variations and examples of the Superman plank. But for this challenge, you’ll do the variation which involves starting from a basic plank or high plank position and alternating sides. And we’ll use the former variation for exercise instructions.
- Get into a basic plank position so that your forearms are supporting your own bodyweight.
- Reach forward with one arm so that it’s completely extended while lifting the leg on the opposite side.
- Return to the starting position then repeat by doing the opposite.
Perform the exercise on each side for the prescribed time. For example, if the time is 15 seconds, then hold the position on one side for 15 seconds then repeat this for the other side.
Here’s a video example…
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the benefits of the plank?
The plank is most commonly used as a core muscle developer. However, it also improves full-body stabilization and posture, which is important for physical activity and even preventing injuries.
That doesn’t mean the plank is the only exercise you should for these benefits and it shouldn’t be. But it’s a great addition to any exercise regime.
Is the plank better than crunches for getting abs?
The plank is arguably the more functional exercise and it does improve the appearance of the midsection. But crunches are indeed an effective exercise for building the ab muscles.
Include both for overall improved core development.
Are planks safe for everyone?
Yes and no. It depends on your structural health and if you have any physical condition that causes you regular pain, you’ll want to avoid the plank.
On the other hand, if done correctly and how explained above, the plank is a very safe and effective exercise.
How long should I hold a plank for?
The question really should be, how long can you hold a plank for? This will, of course, vary between individuals and if you can hold a plank for several minutes then have at it.
Just work up slowly though because planks can make you extremely sore if you go all out at first.
That’s it! Take on this 30-day challenge and you won’t only see improvements in core strength, but you’ll probably see visual improvements as well. Not to mention, you’ll reap the postural benefits along with improving total body stabilization.
This can translate into your other exercises and activities which makes it totally worth it. We understand that holding a plank for three minutes may not pose a challenge for more advanced exercisers. But for anyone else looking to improve, it’s perfect!