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Our 30-Day Plank Challenge: Can you hit 120 seconds in 30 days?

A white man with a shaved head and bulging upper arm muscles wearing an orange tanktop performs a plank challenge in front of a gray marbled background
Fitness Editor
Dominic is a sports journalist and personal trainer and writes fitness articles for our magazine. He also makes free workout plans for our site.

The plank is one of the best basic bodyweight exercises. Let’s get into why it’s so good, what you should pay attention to and how to get up to holding your plank for 120 seconds in our 30-day plank challenge.

What is a Plank?

The plank is one of the oldest, as well as the best, exercises that use no extra weight. It’s also called a front hold or abdominal bridge, since it stabilizes and strengthens your entire torso.

For a basic plank, support yourself on your forearms, stretching out to your full length with your toes turned under.

Now your body is in a straight line from head to heels, and all you have to do is hold this plank position. Make sure you keep your body straight: take the time to practice in front of a mirror first! It’s pretty common for people to think they’re doing it right even though their hips are actually too high or too low the whole time. If you hold your hips too high, the exercise won’t be enough of a challenge and it won’t improve your fitness. If your hips sag too low, you’ll put more strain on your lower spine, which can lead to back problems.

Once you’ve found the right height, concentrate on actively engaging your abdominal muscles. Even in the middle of a 30 day challenge, plank core tension will keep your hips from sagging.

Tip: Get an extra serving of energy and protein with a Whey Shake after your workout, so you’ll be ready to tone your muscles again the next time plank day rolls around.

Discover our Whey Protein

Advantages of the Plank

The plank’s several advantages make it a must-have in your workout routine.

  • It’s perfect for beginners, because its difficulty can be changed from day to day.
  • A regular plank challenge gives you maximum results with a minimum time investment.
  • There’s a very low risk of injury in plank challenges if you don’t have pre-existing elbow or shoulder problems.
  • A planking challenge makes sure you have a strong core and makes you feel fitter day by day.
  • It’s the perfect preliminary move for other bodyweight and yoga exercises.
  • It strengthens your core, which makes it good for back problems.

Disadvantages of the Plank

Even though the plank is an excellent move for workouts without extra weights, depending on your fitness goals, it also has disadvantages.

  • Regular planks don’t challenge you in the right way to build large muscles or lose fat.
  • Any duration over 2 minutes only minimally increases its fitness benefits.
  • To make it more difficult you have to explore some plank variations.

And we’ve gathered three of the best right here!

4 Different Ways to Plank

Basic Plank

a GIF image of a white, short-brown-haired man in sports gear getting himself into the basic plank position. He supports himself on elbows and knees, then walks his legs out one by one to balance on his toes, and supports the weight of his upper body on his forearms, which are flat on his exercise mat with his elbows directly under his shoulders. His upper and lower body should form a straight line with his pelvis kept low and stable.
©foodspring

 

Difficulty: Easy
Muscles Trained: Torso stability
Important: Engage your core to avoid arching your back.

Side Plank

A light-skinned woman in black workout gear with a brown ponytail demonstrates a side plank: balancing on her left foot and left forearm, she raises her right arm into the air. Her body is at a diagonal downward angle.
©foodspring

 

Difficulty: Medium
Muscles Trained: Torso stability + coordination
Important: Support yourself by bringing your extended arm down to the floor if the side plank is too difficult.

Military Plank

A gif of a white athlete doing a military plank. He begins in the classic plank position, then arm by arm lowers himself onto his forearms and raises his body weight back up onto his palms, and repeats.
©foodspring

 

Difficulty: Medium
Muscles Trained: Torso stability + triceps and chest
Important: Engage your core muscles to avoid hollowing out your back and put your arms shoulder width, like in a pushup.

Mountain Climbers

A gif of a light-skinned woman performing mountain climbers. She balances her weight on her palms, arms straight underneath her shoulders, and alternates raising one knee, then the other, towards her elbows while keeping her balance on the ball of the opposite foot.
©foodspring

 

Difficulty: Medium
Muscles Trained: Torso stability + strength endurance
Important: Engage your core to avoid hollowing out your back and hold your hips and shoulders at the same level while bringing your legs forward one side after the other.

Your 30-Day Plank Challenge

Today’s the day! Download your 30-day plank challenge and work up to a 120-second plank by gradually increasing their difficulty!

Download it for free now!

Our Tips: Up for a challenge and want to work more on your lower body fitness? Take a look at our in-depth articles on lunges and squats for leg day!

Conclusion

  • The plank is an effective basic exercise for bodyweight workouts.
  • It stabilizes and strengthens your core.
  • Regular planks improve your posture and physical awareness.
  • The plank is also helpful for strengthening your back and relieving pain.
Article sources
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