Plank is a great core strengthening exercise to tone various parts of your body including your abs, back and shoulders.
It is one of the most complete total-body exercises there is and works multiple muscle groups simultaneously just by holding the isometric hold position for 30-60 seconds.
It’s unbelievably simple and easy that almost anyone can perform, yet it’s super effective at developing core strength.
Whether you want to tone or strengthen your abs, you can’t go wrong with the planks.
The best part is you can do it anywhere including home, hotel room and even outdoor.
Luckily, this super workout is finally catching up and increasing in popularity, thanks to its countless amazing benefits.
Without further adieu, here are the top 3 plank benefits you should know before taking the challenge.
Toned abs: On contrary to crunches that focus on the six-pack muscles (outer abdominal muscles), plank works the deep inner core muscles that function as base of the six-pack muscles. To see definitions in your abs, working the deep inner abdominal is a must.
However, be cautioned that your abs will start showing when your body fat percentage goes below 20-22% depending on your age and body type. If your body fat percentage is higher, perform fat burning high-intensity workouts in addition to this plank challenge to reach your goal faster and get sculpted abs.
Stronger Back: According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), plank exercise is a great way to build back strength and reduce pain in the region.
“Because plank exercise require minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain”.
Improved flexibility: Planks also increase the flexibility in posterior muscle groups by working the shoulders, collarbone, and upper back. These areas are often neglected in typical workout routines, thus performing planks which give attention to the posterior muscles improves their strength and flexibility.
Better posture: Plank exercise take the most simplistic form, but in its simplicity lies great benefits. One of them is improved posture. During the isometric hold, deep core stabilizing muscles such as transverse abdominis and iliopsoas and other nearby muscles get contracted simultaneously to stabilize and enable the straight body alignment. This activation of stabilizing muscles improves your stability and leads to better posture.
Despite all the great benefits and hardly any hurdle to perform this simple workout, planks are not to be taken lightly.
There is a major mistake almost all plank performers make, and you should avoid this at all cost.
This 30 day plank challenge addresses this number one plank mistake people make.
From the conventional plank challenges, you were probably lead to believe that you should hold the plank position as long as you can.
Longer you hold, stronger your core is. They said.
Makes sense. You said.
But does it really?
Numerous studies have found that it’s better to maintain proper form for a shorter period of time than to hold improper form for longer. There is really no point of holding beyond 60 seconds unless your core is extremely conditioned.
So how do you advance your planks if holding longer is not the way to go?
Great question: The smarter and safer way to advance your planks and challenge your core is to perform more advanced planks, just as we did in this plank challenge.
It effectively challenges your strength by removing the base of support. This forces your body to engage your stabilizing muscles even more to hold the isometric position and resist the urge to drop your hips.
Are you ready to start your plank challenge?
The rule is simple: Each day, perform one plank exercise for the prescribed number of seconds in the log sheet. All planks are color coordinated to show which plank you are scheduled to perform.
Each day you advance, you increase the hold time by 10 seconds. Rest on your 5 th day and start a new harder plank if you were able to successfully hold the previous plank for 60 seconds.
Cross out your log sheet each day to see your progress!
- The primary muscles involved in the front planks include erector spinae, rectus abdominis (abs), and the transverse abdominis.
- Also try our 30 Day Side Plank Challenge to further strengthen your core and burn some fat from the midsection.