Hey there everyone! I’ve been sharing a plank video each day on my other social media sites for a 4-week Plank Challenge to celebrate a year of Plants to Planks. There are plenty of these challenges all around, but it never hurts to add another variation to the mix to try to keep people motivated to work on their fitness. Planks are one of the best functional core exercises. The cool thing is there are so many variations on the basic hold that you can constantly add new ones to challenge yourself or just keep your core workouts interesting.
For the first week of the challenge I kept it pretty basic with all body weight versions with no added props. I’ll share all seven videos here, so you can pick and choose which versions you would like to add to your routine. You can also try a different plank ever day for a full week or add them all together for one solid core workout!
Day 1: Basic Plank Hold
For the basic plank lock in your abs, squeeze your glutes and make sure to have your elbows lined up right underneath your shoulders for a solid foundation. To be able to gauge progress, start out with this one and see how long you can hold the position for. Do the other variations each day and at the end of the 4 weeks test again to see if you have improved your time.
Besides the first day, the following planks you can perform for 30, 45 or 60 seconds depending upon your fitness level. You can throw these in to your regular workout routine or add them in at any point during your day for a quick bit of activity.
Day 2: Side Plank Progression
Julie is demonstrating a full progression of options for the side plank starting with the bottom knee down all the way to the top leg up for a greater challenge. Just pick the version that suits your current level and hold in the position. The form is similar to the basic plank in that you want strong lines through the body with the arm lined up and the core totally engaged.
Day 3: Shoulder Tap Plank
Jason is helping me out with the demonstration for this one. The shoulder tap plank is a high plank variation that brings in some solid upper body work as well as an element of balance. You really want to lock in your hips on this one to minimize any sway when you rotate hands.
Day 4: Low Plank Alternating Leg Lift
If you want to work on your booty while still training your core, then this is a great variation for you. Once again keep the core locked in so that there shouldn’t be a lot of movement throughout the rest of the body. Only the legs are moving on this one while you hold steady with that strong plank position.
Day 5: Low Plank Alternating Arm Reach
For the opposite of the previous one, you can also alternate lifting and reaching with your arms. Both varieties present a great challenge to the standard plank and should be performed with slow controlled movements to really get the most out of the exercise.
Day 6: High Low Plank with an Optional Pushup
This is a great move just with the high to low plank movement, but the optional addition of the pushup really intensifies the upper body challenge. As with the other moving planks, be sure to still maintain that engaged core throughout and minimize any sway in the back or shifting of the hips. Keep good form on your pushup if you decide to add it in.
Day 7: High Plank to Side Plank
To finish out the week I added in a bit of a rotational movement. This one can be challenging on the balance end of things, so definitely keep the movement controlled or you will slide around or even topple over. Try not to let your feet or hand positions shift too much as you lift and set them back down or you will get out of alignment in your plank position. The first part of the video shows the basic version with both feet staying on the ground, but you can add in the top leg lift for a more advanced movement.
Just about any of these moves can be modified by elevating your hands on a stable surface or even dropping your knees to the floor in some instances so there is less pressure on the arms and shoulders. Start where you are now and build your way up in with consistent activity over time. Let me know if you have any questions!
*Make sure to consult your health professional if you have any current or prior medical issues that may prohibit starting a new exercise program.