30-Day Plank Challenge

Ever year it never seems to fail. People want to make those positive life changes and January usually becomes the magic month for change. There’s something magical about a brand new year, with all its brand new potential that prompts people to make a resolution to better themselves in some way. My question is, WHY WAIT until the new year to make that change? Any day is a chance to start anew! So I challenge you, my Athleta community, to take the 30-day plank challenge! Maybe some of you have already seen or even participated in a 30-day plank challenge.

The 30-day plank challenge is a doable challenge that is designed to take you from a 20 second plank starting point, to an all out, no holds barred, I KID YOU NOT, five minute plank, in 30 days.

Sandy Planking

But wait, there’s more! For just 30-days of your time and no shipping and handling, you’ll also receive a stronger back and core! Don’t believe me -– just ask Kelley Heye about the benefits of planking. As Kelley posted in her blog, “…the plank is the best core-strengthening exercise on earth.” It’s a great tool in improving core strength and stability.

When I was introduced to the 30-day plank challenge, I learned that planking is a popular element of isometric training -– contracting your muscles against stationary resistance. It’s a great way to hit multiple muscles at once: upper abs, lower abs, obliques, and lower back!

I will share with you all a helpful hint I learned while planking: DISTRACTING YOURSELF IS KEY. The seconds listed may not seem like a lot, but they seem to tick SLOWER than minutes in a pro football game while you’re down in plank position. My suggestion to you is to distract yourself with something, rather than watch the seconds tick slowly away.

To distract myself, I plopped my cell phone on the floor and thumbed through Facebook. My girlfriend, who turned her plank challenge into a family challenge, planked with her little ones. They passed the time by taking turns telling each other the best or funniest thing about their day. She said that planking had become their family bonding time. HOWEVER, she did note that the funny story aspect added an additional challenge of trying to hold the plank while laughing.

Sandy Sanders Plank Party

Another helpful hint: Get friends involved! I loved the idea of the plank challenge so much that I created a Facebook page. Before I knew it, there were 42 people planking nationwide. The only requirement was that members post “done” on our group page when their day’s planking was complete. The “done” not only held them accountable, but when it popped into the feed of the other plank page members, it served as a good reminder to them to get their planking in.

A third helpful hint: Make sure you don’t allow your back to sway — as if your stomach is about to touch the ground. As the seconds grew longer, many friends found it harder to hold themselves in plank position as they complained of “feeling it in their backs.” When I looked at my friend’s form, I noticed a HUGE sway in his back. Work on keeping your butt out of the air, and your back as straight as possible.

So there you have it –- a fun new tool to help craft a new you that you can use RIGHT.THIS.VERY.INSTANT with no need of waiting until January. Happy planking!

30-Day Plank Challenge

SANDY SANDERS is an avid fitness enthusiast, a mother of two, and a woman fueled by her desire to live life without regrets. “There are two types of regrets in life — regretting having done something and regretting having not done something…” more »

Comments

  1. Melinda says:

    totally doing this.

    Like: Thumb up 8

  2. Ely says:

    How many reps per day?

    ~Reader Favorite~ Like: Thumb up 22

  3. Tanya says:

    Day 1-done

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  4. Courtney Clendenin says:

    Done

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  5. laura says:

    Ack! Right now 20 seconds seems like a lot! Giving it a go!

    Like: Thumb up 5

  6. Bonnie says:

    Done!

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  7. Shirley says:

    Day 1 done! I think I can do this :)

    Like: Thumb up 5

  8. Leslie says:

    PLEASE research how BAD planks are for people who have something called a DIASTASIS RECTI. It’s a separation in your transverse core muscle. PLANKS MAKE IT WORSE. I personally found out I had a DR AFTER starting a “plank a day” challenge. While running 6-8 miles every other day, I started doing a plank a day….I’ve always been able to hold about 2 minutes. Well, I got up to well over two minutes and noticed my belly poking out more….like I had gained weight when I really hadn’t. I started researching why this might be happening and found out about DR through a very knowledgeable woman named Beth Learn – http://www.fit2b.us – I found that my CORE was separated (very common for women who have had children – but not something that HAS TO HAPPEN or HAS TO STAY UNHEALED). I learned that exercises like PLANKS AND CRUNCHES make a DR worse. I have not done either for about 9 months and have HEALED MY CORE. And, in the process, I’ve found that I am overall stronger!! And I was pretty strong to begin with!! Please look into this before you begin any fitness routine……and ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE prescribing a fitness routine to people. You. Need. To. Know. About. Diastasis. Recti!! Thanks!!

    ~Reader Favorite~ Like: Thumb up 37

  9. Rosemarie says:

    I’m in!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. Jaymie says:

    I’ll give it a go

    Like: Thumb up 2

  11. Angela clarke says:

    Done!

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  12. Suzanne Cronin says:

    I’m in!

    Like: Thumb up 2

  13. Glo says:

    Done. Love it

    Like: Thumb up 2

  14. Michael AuCoin says:

    What the hell…. Let’s do this thing…

    Like: Thumb up 4

  15. Sheila says:

    Day one – done

    Like: Thumb up 2

  16. Debbie says:

    I want to do this…I will do this!

    Like: Thumb up 4

  17. Susan says:

    Done

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  18. Nancy says:

    Count me in !

    Like: Thumb up 3

  19. Kelley says:

    Thanks for the mention Sandy! Happy New Year and happy planking to you and your family!

    Like: Thumb up 4

  20. Tara says:

    Done! 1st 20 sec!!!

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  21. Sandy S says:

    Ely — only once/ day is all that’s needed!! BUT if you feel like going more, then go for it. but once/ day is all I’m doing. ;-)

    Leslie — GREAT point!!! ANYTIME anyone has fitness concerns; has a medical condition and is trying something new; feels pain or something abnormal when exercising, a doctor should ALWAYS be consulted first.

    Kelly, anytime and thanks!! Happy New Year to you and your family as well!!

    to the rest of you amazingly motivated plankers, I’M IN TOO!!! you guys have motivated me to give this another go round. ok, let me get mine in. an DO NOT get discouraged!!! the minutes may seem intimidating but you can do this!!! just chip away at the seconds as best you can!!! GO ATHLETA ATHLETES GO!!!! :-)

    Like: Thumb up 2

  22. Sandy S says:

    DONE!!! (oh yeah, and DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH while you plank!!!)

    Like: Thumb up 6

  23. Leslie says:

    Sandy, I would be interested to know if you know about DR. It is very common among women and I would be willing to bet a LOT of ladies joining in on this challenge have a DR. This is not some off-the-wall problem. I’ve read your bio and it seems you have a lot of reach/readership. Would you consider delving in to DR and addressing it in a post/article?? I am seriously AMAZED at what I was ignorant about my CORE and proper alignment….not to mention what I’ve learned about pelvic floor health, too. So much stronger now!!

    Like: Thumb up 4

  24. Carly says:

    I’m in! Posted that I was doing this on my blog to make me extra accountable. Eek. I want to do a 5 minute plank as badly as I wanted to do my first triathlon so this is pretty exciting, thanks!

    Like: Thumb up 3

  25. MBJA says:

    Done #1

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  26. Meghan L says:

    Deal me in!

    I’ve planked up to 3 minutes, so I’m underway, at least!

    Like: Thumb up 3

  27. Krista says:

    Done – first time planking!

    Like: Thumb up 2

  28. Sarah says:

    Done. Even got one son to join in.

    Like: Thumb up 2

  29. Rebecky says:

    Today is day 4 for me – doing this with my kids and loving it. Thank you.

    Like: Thumb up 3

  30. Linda Alexander says:

    Looking forward to 2014 great way to get a jump start! Thanks for thinking up something challenging to get it started! Happy New Year!

    Like: Thumb up 2

  31. Susan Willett says:

    I’m in! Day one is done!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  32. Charlene says:

    DAY 1 DONE!

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  33. Monica says:

    Done!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  34. LBK says:

    Day one DONE! Happy New Year!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  35. Sandy S says:

    Leslie, I do know about DR because I had it after my 2nd pregnancy. Ugh having it SUCKED! I had NO core strength because of my DR. I’m super curious to know how you were able to non-surgically repair yours. I tried almost everything I could think of but nothing worked, and I ended up correcting mine via surgery. I don’t feel professionally knowledgeable enough to write an article about DR as I would hate to do more harm that good. One of the 2013 featured athletes is a doctor so maybe she can address the issue.

    As far as you ladies taking on the challenge, WAY TO ROCK IT!!! Just remember when we’re well into this challenge: commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you. ;-)

    Like: Thumb up 3

  36. Lisa says:

    Day 4 done. It seems hard but I’m going to do this. Stronger than the first day though Happy Planking!!

    Like: Thumb up 3

  37. Christine says:

    Doing it with my daughter and husband!

    Like: Thumb up 2

  38. Sue Kent says:

    I am starting this also. Let’s see how my core shapes up!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  39. Cindi says:

    Day 2 Jan. 3 -Done; 30 secs day one, 1 minute day 2.

    Like: Thumb up 2

  40. Beth says:

    I’m in

    Like: Thumb up 1

  41. Rhonda says:

    Day 1 done

    Like: Thumb up 0

  42. Carrie H says:

    Day 4 – done. Got my 10 yo to ‘play’ too!! :-)

    Like: Thumb up 2

  43. Ilene says:

    I just learned about this 30 day plank challenge and I am starting mine today. I can’t wait!

    Like: Thumb up 4

  44. Olive says:

    Just saw this and am in. Can’t imagine getting past a minute at this point!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  45. Loren says:

    Wow!! Going to try this… I can not imagine 300 seconds.. but will follow day to day… Here is hoping!!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  46. Loren says:

    Day One Done !!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  47. jenny says:

    Where do you do when you are done with the challenge? Do you start over, do you just keep doing the 5 minutes? Just curious where I go from there. Thanks!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  48. Diane says:

    Day 8 and so far, so good! I’m dreading Day 12 already. I’ve never held a plank longer than 60 seconds!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  49. Bri says:

    I’m at 1:27 on day 3. Ha. Y’all are weak sauce

    Like: Thumb up 0

  50. Trailmomma says:

    You ladies are wonderful for taking on this challenge. It truly is a great exrecise (if done properly and you have no medical condtions i.e. DR).

    My family also did one of these once and it was a great bonding experience!

    Way to go ladies!!!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  51. Sandy S says:

    Jenny, once you’re done, you can start over — although after you knock out 5 min, i’m sure starting over will be like cake for you, and you’ll want more of a challenge. Haha put your newfound strong core to use and make some side money planking as a party coffee table! ;-) (kidding of course. Happy Planking!!)

    Bri, dang girl, way to BEAST it out. If this isn’t enough of a challenge for you, try upping the challenge factor by planking on the flatside of a Bosu ball; putting a weighted disc on your back while planking; or placing your feet against a wall and hold the plank. Many people have never planked before so these are new waters for them, and for the fact that they’re even willing to give it a go, i think they’re awesome sauce! But again, you obviously have a very strong core, so let’s really test that puppy! ;-)

    Trailmomma, i couldn’t agree more about how wonderful these ladies are!!! I second what you just wrote: WAY TO GO LADIES!!! :-)

    Like: Thumb up 0

  52. Sharon says:

    Day 12 – failed to get to 90 seconds. Yesterday 60 was easy. Today 20 seconds was hard. Tomorrow is a new day, and a rest, and on Tuesday a new start at 60. I feel better for doing this – even my posture is improved. I won’t give up.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  53. Sandy S says:

    Sharon, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your ‘I will not quit’ attitude; and I love you finding the positive in this challenge!!!! YES, tomorrow is a new day and if you didn’t get it, dust yourself off and give it another go. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! keep your back straight! don’t hold your breath. DISTRACT yourself! and JUUUUUUUST when you feel yourself about to give up, hear my voice saying “you’re almost there!!! just a few seconds longer. you’ve got this Sharon! you’ve got this.” :-)

    Like: Thumb up 2

  54. Kate Weaver says:

    Is this supposed to be a high plank or low plank? When you get into the longer time periods, is it ok to switch between the two? Or do you recommend holding the position?

    Like: Thumb up 0

  55. Sandy S says:

    Kate, i would recommend going for the low plank as that’s the one that will target more muscle groups and would be more beneficial. I would recommend holding the low plank vice switching between the two. if you’re brand spanking new to planking and this challenge seems intimidating, then make it a 60-day challenge. do the 1st 30 days in the high plank position, then for round 2, graduate to the low plank. Happy planking!!!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  56. Elaine says:

    Just started today. Day one done and much harder than expected. I’ll be back tomorrow!

    Like: Thumb up 1

  57. Leeanne says:

    Just did day 14… Seem to be at my limit… Can’t even imagine 5 minutes right now but I’ll keep going and see…

    Like: Thumb up 2

  58. esther says:

    Does having had a cesarean (in my case many years ago) having any statistical relationship to the ds issue? Just wondering…I’m starting tonite.And if wait loss ..take a look at the book the 17 day diet..the breakthrough edition…by Dr mike Moreno …Fabulous if nothing else it will make you healthier and happier..lol

    Like: Thumb up 1

  59. Wendy says:

    I am on day 12, I don’t know if I am getting stronger or not, but I feel great for doing it, so I am continuing it… :)

    Like: Thumb up 0

  60. Wendy says:

    Elaine, day 1 was the hardest for me, keep going!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  61. Mikey M says:

    Just finished Day 12. It started to get hard near the end. Granted my left arm muscles are weak because of shoulder and elbow injuries. Looking forward to rest tomorrow. Can easily say 12 days ago I would never have made 90 seconds. This lets me feel like I am accplomplishing something. It’s a good thing my foot has finally started to get better.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  62. Cherie says:

    I just started! I could feel the 20 seconds–on my way to STRONG. Thanks!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  63. kat says:

    Just started today! I am too weak to have done the full 20seconds straight through but I won’t let that stop me! Great idea and thanks for sharing the plan!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  64. Ginger says:

    I am a day behind, but on day #22 and at 3 minutes. It is harder than I thought, but I love everyone’s stories.They are encouraging me!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  65. Sandy S says:

    Ginger, welcome to the planking club!! I too LOVE everyone’s stories, and I love the fact that they serve as encouragement for you. Mikey, you are MOST DEFINITELY accomplishing something!! make sure you listen to your body, but in the meantime, way to go to you, and ALL of you awesome plankers out there!!! KEEP IT UP and feel your body getting stronger!!!! :-D

    Like: Thumb up 0

  66. Sara Jane says:

    Hi all – first off good luck!!
    I did a challenge like this a couple months back and it was great.
    I just wanted to add, that not everyone can/should work up to the 5 min mark. I am a pretty fit person – years of yoga mixed with weight training and cycling – and I have never been able to make it past 180 seconds. I started reading up on planks to figure out what I was doing wrong, why I couldn’t get further, etc. There are HUGE benefits to having a strong core, no doubt! There can also be diminishing returns for something like planks. Do it and make sure you keep great form, but if you find that other joints start hurting or you start falling backwards, move on to another core exercise and know that there are lots of ways to get a great core.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  67. Chelsea says:

    Hi, I just started this challenge this week. I’m really looking forward to working up and improving my core strength. I’m only on day 4, and already I’m nervous about the upcoming weeks! If 30 seconds is already challenging, is it ok to repeat week 2 if that’s really challenging? I just can’t imagine making some of those big jumps (e.g. from 60 seconds to 90 or from 90 seconds to 120) so quickly.

    Like: Thumb up 1

  68. Mandy says:

    Done!!!!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  69. Griff says:

    I have been doing P90X for about 5 years so I thought I would see how long I could hold a plank. After 3 minutes I had enough. This more difficult than I thought. I will try to continue from day 23.

    Like: Thumb up 0

  70. Max says:

    Hi, I just started (day 4) and I saw one site that says you do 3 reps each day with 10 seconds in between. Is that right or you just need to do one time? Thanks for your blog!

    Like: Thumb up 0

  71. Team Athleta says:

    Hi Max,
    We did 30 seconds straight. But do whatever feels best for you!
    -Jennifer

    Like: Thumb up 0

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