Stronger From Head To Toe – Plank Challenge

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Planks challenge your arms, legs, chest, shoulders, and butt, not to mention make your abs quiver like an earthquake when done properly. Best of all, you can do them anywhere and tweak them to suit your ability. The more you plank, the stronger and more stable you get, and the longer your muscles can endure a plank hold. That’s the intention of our Week plank challenge. (Got 10 minutes? Then you’ve got time to lose the weight for good with Prevention’s new 10-minute workouts.

Your performance will improve if you take active recoveries (or continue moving) between plank holds. This plan uses back extensions as an active recovery exercise because they strengthen the lower back, which is the opposing muscle group to the abs you’re strengthening in plank.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Day 7 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.

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