Training

Can You Take On This 30-Day Plank Challenge?

Starting out or being early on in your fitness journey can be daunting, not knowing how to progress and when. The plank is a staple exercise for developing isometric strength in your core muscles, which transfers to stability and strength in other compound lifts that require core strength. This 30-day challenge will give you every step you need to get you to a 5-minute plank.

How to do the plank

Start prone on the floor and use your elbows to prop up your torso by stacking them directly below your shoulders. While your body is elevated, squeeze your glutes – ensuring there is a straight line running from your shoulders to your ankles. Brace your core throughout the exercise, as if you’re about to be hit in the abdomen or as if you’re trying to pull your lower ribs and pelvis towards each other (without moving!). Hold this position for the duration stated, maintaining strict form.

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What are the benefits?

The plank is a great exercise for developing isometric core strength (isometric meaning that a static position is being held). Developing isometric strength will also transfer to dynamic strength (meaning with movement). This means that the plank is ideal for developing isometric strength in the muscles surrounding your spine (i.e. lower back, abdominal muscles, glutes), which can transfer to more efficient and stable movement in sports that demand such characteristics, as powerlifting and weightlifting. In some cases, developing this isometric core strength can also be an effective combatant against non-specific lower back pain (although generally being active and moving more tends to be effective too).

Day

Exercise

Day 1 20-second plank
Day 2 25-second plank
Day 3 25-second plank
Day 4 30-second plank
Day 5 Rest day
Day 6 40-second plank
Day 7 45-second plank
Day 8 45-second plank
Day 9 50-second plank
Day 10 Rest day
Day 11 60-second plank
Day 12 60-second plank
Day 13 70-second plank
Day 14 70-second plank
Day 15 Rest day
Day 16 90-second plank
Day 17 120-second plank
Day 18 90-second plank
Day 19 120-second plank
Day 20 Rest day
Day 21 150-second plank
Day 22 150-second plank
Day 23 180-second plank
Day 24 180-second plank
Day 25 Rest day
Day 26 210-second plank
Day 27 210-second plank
Day 28 240-second plank
Day 29 270-second plank
Day 30 300-second plank


Scott Whitney

Scott Whitney

Writer and expert

Scott developed a passion for sport and performance through competing in long‐distance running and bouldering prior to attending university. Scott’s academic achievements include a BSc honours degree in Sports Therapy and an MSc degree in Strength and Conditioning. He is also a member of The Society of Sports Therapists and CIMSPA. Previously, he has worked with amateur and elite athletes, ranging from university sports teams to elite rugby league athletes and Team GB rowers. He currently works with various gyms in developing and delivering training programmes for amateur athletes and gym‐goers. While passive treatments remain in his arsenal as a Sports Therapist, Scott uses his skills to promote physical activity for combatting obesity, lower back pain and other sporting injuries, and simultaneously providing programmes for athletic development. Being a recent graduate, Scott strives to gain experience wherever possible, offering advice and sharing knowledge along the way. He believes it is important to practice what you preach, so in his spare time, Scott practices Olympic Weightlifting and enjoys being active outdoors in all weathers, although he still believes it is important to make ample time for social activities.


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