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Plank Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Planks

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 1 Plank Challenge: Forearm Plank (Low Plank)

    • Place elbows directly beneath your shoulders, legs extended.
    • Press through your heels so calves are lengthened. Draw your navel toward your spine and engage your glutes.
    • Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 2 Plank Challenge: Forearm Side Plank

    • Start in basic low plank.
    • Make fists with both hands and rotate your right fist into your left elbow to transition into a right side plank.
    • Extend your left arm to the ceiling.
    • Hold the right side plank for 45 seconds then pass through basic plank and rotate your left fist into your right elbow to transition into a left side plank.
    • Hold a left side plank for 45 seconds; do three sets (one set constitutes both sides).

    Form Tip: Remember to keep your glutes engaged and navel toward your spine. Drive your hips toward the ceiling and stack your feet to keep your hips square.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 3 Plank Challenge: Extended Arm Plank (High Plank)

    • Place your wrists directly under your shoulders, using the same form tips as a low plank.
    • Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 4 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank

    • Start in basic high plank.
    • Walk your right hand to the midline of your body and roll onto the outside edge of your right foot.
    • Stack your feet, drive your hips to the ceiling and extend your left arm to the ceiling.
    • Hold for 45 seconds, then pass through basic high plank and repeat of the left side.
    • Do three sets (one set constitutes both sides).
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 5 Plank Challenge: Low Plank with Knee Taps

    • Assume low plank position.
    • Alternate knee taps to the floor, focusing more on your low abdomen.
    • Continue alternating for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 6 Plank Challenge: High Plank Shoulder Taps

    • Assume a high plank position.
    • Keeping your hips square, working hard not to let them sway side to side, lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder, then your left hand to tap your right shoulder.
    • Continue alternating for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 7 Plank Challenge: Plank Up-Downs

    • Start in a low plank.
    • Maintaining square hips, place your right hand under your right shoulder, then left hand under your left shoulder, then proceed to lower back down to your right elbow, then your left elbow.
    • Continue alternating the hand you come up with first for 60 seconds.
    • Do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 8 Plank Challenge: Nail the Basics

    • Start in a forearm plank.
    • Do two knee taps, one with each knee.
    • Transition to a high plank.
    • Tap each hand to its opposite shoulder.
    • Return to forearm plank.
    • Repeat for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 9 Plank Challenge: Basic Triceps Push-Up

    • Starting in a high plank, rotate the crease of your elbows forward; shift your shoulders over your wrists slightly.
    • With your elbows hugging your rib cage, slowly lower your body until your shoulders are even with your elbows.
    • Hold for two seconds, then return to your start position.
    • Do eight to 10 reps (10 to 12 if on knees); do three sets.

    Note: Push-ups are a moving plank, so as your core strength improves from working on plank variations, so will your push-ups. It's important to draw your navel toward your spine and engage your glutes, just as you do while performing planks.

  • Peter Ardito

    Day 10 Plank Challenge: Low Plank with Hip Dips

    • Start in a low plank.
    • Rotate your hips to the right as you dip them about three inches from the ground, then rotate them to the left and dip.
    • Alternate for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 11 Plank Challenge: Plank Jacks

    • Start in high plank.
    • Hop your feet out wider than hip-width without allowing your butt to pop up above the height of your shoulders, then quickly hop your feet back to hip-width.
    • Continue for 60 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 12 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank with Hip Dips

    • Assume low plank position and transition into a right side plank.
    • Drive your hips toward the ceiling, then dip your right hip toward the floor, then back to the start position. You should feel this strongly in your right side oblique.
    • Continue for 60 seconds, then repeat on the left side; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 13 Plank Challenge: High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

    • Assume a high plank position.
    • Bring your right knee to your left elbow, hold for three seconds, then bring your left knee to your right elbow and hold for three seconds.
    • Keep alternating in this manner for 60 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 14 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow

    • Assume a low plank position.
    • Bring your right knee to the outside of your right elbow, maintaining square hips and shoulders, hold for three seconds, then bring your left knee to the outside of your left elbow, hold for three seconds.
    • Continue in this manner for 60 seconds. You should feel this strongly in your obliques and transverse abdominis.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 15 Plank Challenge: Boost Your Heart Rate

    • Do two plank up-downs.
    • Bring each knee to its opposite elbow.
    • Do 5 plank jacks.
    • Do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 16 Plank Challenge: Standard Wide Grip Push-Up

    • Walk your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, feet hip-width.
    • Maintaining a strong core, bend your elbows to create a 90-degree angle biceps to forearms.
    • Press back to your start position.
    • Do 12 to 15 reps; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 17 Plank Challenge: Crouching Panther Plank

    • Place your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
    • Maintaining a flat back, lift your knees two inches off the ground.
    • Hold this position hovering off the floor for 75 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 18 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank, Rotate, and Leg Lift

    • Assume a right side plank position with your feet stacked and your left hand behind your head.
    • Keeping your hips high, rotate your left elbow to your right fist, then lift the left leg off the right with control.
    • Repeat this sequence for 45 seconds on the right, then do the same on the left.
    • Do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 19 Plank Challenge: High Plank Reach

    • Assume a high plank position.
    • Walk your hands as far forward as you possibly can, drawing your navel in and squeezing your butt.
    • Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 20 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank/Hip Dip/Leg Lift

    • Assume a high right side plank.
    • Dip your right hip down about 10 inches, lift back up to a right side plank position and lift your left leg off your right with control.
    • Continue in this manner for 45 seconds, then repeat on the left side.
    • Do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 21 Plank Challenge: Moving Lateral Panther Plank

    • Assume panther plank position.
    • Maintaining a flat back and keeping your knees two inches off the ground, move your body to the right by simultaneously moving your right hand and right foot to the right a few inches, then your left hand and your left foot to the right.
    • Move right for 15 seconds, then move left the same way for 15 seconds. Continue for 75 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 22 Plank Challenge: Step Up Your Side Plank

    • Start in a side plank on your right side.
    • Dip your right hip toward the floor for two reps, then lift your left leg off your right for two reps.
    • Rotate your left elbow to your right for two reps.
    • Do three sets on each side.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 23 Plank Challenge: Triceps Push-Up with Rotation

    • Bring your feet slightly wider than hip-width and perform one triceps push-up.
    • Find your balance and lift your right hand off the ground to extend your right arm to the sky and open your right side chest to the right. Return your hand to the floor, perform another triceps push-up, and repeat with the left arm.
    • Continue this movement pattern for eight to 10 reps; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 24 Plank Challenge: Towel Plank Rows

    • Start in a low plank with your toes on a towel.
    • Maintaining a solid plank position, glide your body forward and back, shifting your shoulders over your wrists, then behind them.
    • Do this for 60 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 25 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank Thread/Leg Lift

    • Start in a high right side plank.
    • Thread the left arm underneath your right side body, then lift your left leg off your right.
    • Continue this pattern for 60 seconds, then repeat on your left side.
    • Do three sets each side.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 26 Plank Challenge: Towel Plank Army Crawls

    • Start in a low plank with your toes on a towel.
    • Maintaining a solid plank position, crawl forward on your elbows about eight "steps" each elbow, then crawl backwards about eight "steps" each elbow.
    • Continue in this manner for 60 seconds; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 27 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank/Crunch/Toe Tap

    • Start in a right side high plank with right foot slightly in front of your left and your left hand behind your head.
    • Pull your right knee into your chest while you crunch your left elbow to meet your right knee.
    • Once back to your start position lift your left foot off the ground to tap in front of your right foot, then back behind it.
    • Continue this sequence for 60 seconds, then repeat on the left; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 28 Plank Challenge: Towel One-Legged High Plank Pull

    • Start in a high plank with the toes of your right foot on a towel.
    • Pull your left knee into your chest and using your core, keep your left knee locked in tight while you drag your right knee into your chest, then back out for 45 seconds.
    • Repeat the same movement with the toes of your left foot on a towel, right knee to chest. Do three sets.
  • Day 29 Plank Challenge: Get a Move On

    • Start in a high plank with toes on a towel, gliders, or paper plates.
    • Walk your hands forward four steps.
    • Open your legs wider than hip-width to a straddle (similar to a plank jack) position, five times.
    • Walk your hands back four steps.
    • Continue in this manner for 60 seconds.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 30 Plank Challenge: Crouching Tiger Push-Ups

    • Begin in a standard wide grip push-up position.
    • Bend your elbows to form a 90-degree angle between your biceps and forearms. At this point, do not come out of your push-up. Instead, bend your knees and press through your shoulders to glide your body back so your knees are beneath your hips.
    • Straighten your legs to transition into a wide downward dog position.
    • Lift high onto your toes and articulate your spine to perform a rolling wave back to your start position.
    • Do 10 to 12 reps; do three sets.
  • Peter Ardito

    Day 31 Plank Challenge: Plank Hold

    Hold a high or low plank for two minutes.

  • Bonus! Plank Challenge Calendar

    Head over to Shape.com to grab your full-size plank challenge calendar so you don't miss a day of our core-crushing Plank Off! Beach body, here we come.

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