There are no quick fixes to making changes to your body. Whether you are trying to make changes to your physical appearance or you are attempting to improve strength and conditioning, it’s not done overnight. Rather, it is done by small actions and decisions made daily that, over time, create change. That’s exactly what this plank challenge is all about. Dedicating just a small amount of time each day consistently to this challenge will result in a stronger core and body. This is how it works.
The Plank Challenge
Building a stronger, healthier body is not something that we can just snap our fingers and achieve. It also isn’t one big action or requires extraordinarily difficult workouts or extreme diets. Truthfully, real change happens from consistent, steady effort and commitment to building a healthier overall lifestyle. Nothing extreme about it. That’s what makes this 28-day plank challenge so great. It’s not extreme whatsoever. Rather, it is focused on small, consistent efforts and building on those over time. That’s the real secret to achieving and maintaining health and fitness goals. (1)
4 Weeks To A Stronger Body
Your core muscles are some of the most important muscles in your body. They keep you stable and also help prevent injury. Your core is also so much more than just a six-pack. Thankfully, planking is one of the best exercises for your core, as well as your shoulders, quadriceps, and so much more. A strong core will help you improve stability, decrease back pain, and build muscle endurance. This 4-week plank challenge helps you build your strength in these muscles so that you go from being able to plank for just 20 seconds to a full four minutes – or more.
Read: 10 Stretches to Relax Your Spine After a Hard Day
How To Do A Plank
Before we get into the plank challenge itself, it is important to discuss how to properly do a plank. After all, if you don’t do it correctly, you won’t be working all the muscles that you should be and you won’t achieve the results that you want. These are the steps to follow to ensure you are planking correctly.
First of all, planks can be done on your hands with your arms straight, or bent down lower on your elbows. Neither one is better than the other, so this will depend on your body. For those with wrist problems, for example, doing a plank on their elbows will be best. First, make sure you have a comfortable surface to put your hands or elbows on. A yoga or exercise mat works well here. From there, follow these steps (2):
- Position yourself with your hands or elbows placed directly below your shoulders. If you are on your elbows, extend your forearms out in front of you. You can either extend your hands flat on the floor or you can close each hand in a fist – whichever you prefer.
- Lift yourself up onto your toes, so that your points of contact are either your hands and elbows and your toes. Place your feet hip-distance apart.
- Engage your core. Tuck your pelvis somewhat towards your upper body and imagine pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Doing this will not only help to engage your abdominal muscles, but also your glutes and quads. Focus on evenly distributing your body weight amongst your four points of contact with the floor.
- Focus your gaze to a point between your hands. This will prevent your from cranking your head upwards and throwing off the correct alignment of your spine.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together. This will help to prevent you from allowing your shoulders to inch up towards your ears causing your shoulders and upper back to round
- Breathe – you might be able to hold your breath for 20 seconds, but likely not for four or more. Continuing to breathe is crucial while performing any exercise, including plank.
How To Do The Plank Challenge
Once you have the correct position down, the plank challenge is easy. It is simply doing a plank every day, with one rest day a week, where you gradually increase the length of time you do it for. It starts out at just 20 seconds, and by the end you will be able to hold a plank for four minutes, maybe even longer.
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 – Rest
Day 26 – 210 seconds
Day 27 – 240 seconds
Day 28 – Until failure
That is the plank challenge. Stick to it, and in one month you will have a stronger core.
Keep Reading: These Are the Best Exercises to Help Burn Fat As Fast As Possible
- “Thinking About Trying the Plank Challenge? Here’s What You Need to Know.” Healthline. Jane Chertoff. June 26, 2019.
- “How to Do a Plank With Proper Form So You Can Work Every Part of Your Core.” Self. Christa Sgobba, C.P.T. September 30, 2021.