I am going to plank for an hour this month.
Sounds ambitious, eh?
It is. But not really.
Here’s how it’s going to breakdown; 5 minutes three times a week for four weeks. Voila! An hour of planking.
Still sounds a little ambitious to me but I’ve made it attainable by breaking up the five minutes into accessible-t0-me 30-90 second increments.
Plank challenges are far from a new idea, I’m well aware I’m really just jumping on the bandwagon and adding my own twist. There’s a reason for this though, planks are one of the all-time best full body exercises possible. They work your entire body, are low impact, easily modified or made more difficult, and require no equipment (not even shoes, or clothes for that matter!).
Form is paramount in performing a plank.
How to perform a plank
- My plank mantra is to “lift everything but the butt!” Do not let any part of your body sink towards the floor or give in to gravity. Lift your chest, lift your abs (and then lift them more!), lift your thighs, and lift your knees.
- Have big hands. Spread your fingers wide and distribute the weight through every part of your hand, not just your fingers or the base of your wrists.
- Stack your hands under your shoulders. A common mistake is to have your hands to far forward, putting unnecessary stress on your shoulders and making it harder to maintain proper form. You want your arms to create a vertical line from your hands to your shoulders, no diagonals.
So, wanna plank with me? I’ll be posting my plank sequence of the day on my Facebook page every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this month. Each workout will be broken down into 30-90 second increments and will feature a different signature plank variation.
Even if you aren’t able to perform the entire five minutes I encourage you to give it a try anyway (you could start by cutting my suggested times in half for instance). Modifications and adjustments more than welcome, this is a super inclusive plank plan rather than exclusive and I am all about working at a challenging level for you.
Day 1 One Hour Plank Challenge
60 seconds hold high plank
30 seconds alternating side tap in high plank (step one foot then the other wide then back to hip distance; out, out, in, in) Here’s a video of it posted on the Gracefulfitness Facebook page!
60 seconds hold low plank
30 seconds alternating side tap in low plank
30 second hold high plank
30 second alternating side tap in high plank
30 second hold low plank
30 second alternating side tap in low plank
Rest long enough between each set to come back strong and with good form, maybe even break the workout into two sessions (like morning and night)
Form reminders-for the signature plank go slow and controlled and aim for little or no twisting, lifting, or wiggling through the hips and spine.
Modification ideas-break each minute up into 2 sets of 30 seconds, gently rest your knees on the floor for the held planks (keeping your abs engaged), cut each round in half and perform 2.5 minutes of plank instead of 5.
I’ll be posting my plank workouts, including videos of the plank of the day, on the Gracefulfitness Facebook page if you want to plank along with me.
What’s your favorite plank variation?!
Just completed this 5 minute sequence and feeling very inspired, Faith! I’m coming out of a bit of a lazy period, and this challenge seems like a great addition to getting back on the fitness horse. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to join along!
Thanks for the inspiration! I gave birth four weeks ago and started the plank challenge today to fire up my fitness routine again.
Awesome Ashley! Depending on your pregnancy and deliver you may find that you need to modify some of the variations a bit but overall plank is such a perfect post-partum exercise!