Welcome to the January Plank challenge, a simple yet effective daily challenge that will improve your core strength and endurance throughout January.
Whatever your fitness resolutions for the new year, add this challenge into the mix for daily inspiration and a challenge to keep you focused. This challenge only takes a short time each day, furthermore, my challenges are designed not only to challenge you but to create healthy and active habits that you can continue. You’ll soon learn you don’t need to invest vast amounts of time into exercise however you do need to be consistent.
This challenge is staggered & progressively increases in time throughout the month. there are 3 levels to choose from together with three different plank variations.
Are you ready to get your fitness plans for the new year started?
Challenge starts in
What is a plank
The plank is a bodyweight exercise that involves holding your body in a straight, stationary position while resting on your forearms and toes. It is a popular exercise for strengthening and toning the muscles in your core, including your abs, back, and hips. A staple of fitness and is often used during fitness tests and assessments.
Often also referred to as a prone bridge it is a simple static exercise that will work every part of your core and your whole body as you maintain a rigid position.
Visually the plank is a bridge supported on your toes and forearms, a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. As a result, It looks so simple that you’d think it was easy, it is not. Consequently, you’ll find the plank in almost any fitness programme and that is because it is highly effective and works a fundamental muscle group, your core.
Plank Fitness Test
The January Plank challenge is progressive and you should notice some gains throughout the month. To start off you should test your current core strength with a Plank test. This simple test will give you an idea of where you are now, this can be compared when conducting the same test at the end of the challenge. The result of the test will help you choose the plank variation to do during the challenge.
To conduct the test:
- Have a stopwatch ready or a friend with a stopwatch.
- Get into the plank position.
- Hold the plank for as long as you can.
- Stop the test when you fail or you reach 2 minutes.
Choose the Plank variation based on your initial Plank Test result
- Under 30 seconds – Choose the Beginner variation (Half Plank).
- 30 seconds up to 1 minute 30 seconds – Choose the Regular plank on forearms or with straight arms.
- 1 minute 30 seconds and above – Choose the Plank/Up Down variation for a dynamic plank. Alternatively, you could use an unstable platform such as a BOSU, Balance Pod or Fitness Ball and place your feet upon them creating a more demanding static Plank exercise. Or choose from these 28 Plank Variations
Test your progress with a follow-up Plank Test at the end of the month
After a month of regular planking, you should be feeling stronger with more endurance in your core and stabilizing muscles. To find out how you have improved, repeat the test you conducted at the start of the month. The test should be exactly the same conditions, same plank variation etc.
Plank Challenge Target Guide #Plankawaychallenge
Scoring the Plank Challenge
The challenge is split into 3 levels for which you can score your progress, you don’t need to keep to one level, You can mix & match and go up or down a level. Each level has a score associated with it, use the free-scoring sheet available for download below to track your progress and tally your total score for the month
|TARGET LEVEL||POINTS||EXERCISE LEVEL||POINTS|
|Level 1||1 point||Easy (Half Plank)||+ 1 point|
|Level 2||2 points||Moderate (Full Blank)||+ 2 points|
|Level 3||3 points||Advanced (Up/Downs)||+ 3 points|
I have designed this challenge as a progressive ascending pyramid, in simple turns, each day is equal to or harder than the last. The challenge progresses at small steps enabling you to become stronger as you go through the month. The challenge has two-day steps where we keep to the same target for two days (we can call this acclimatization if you like). It’s all to get you up to your target time at the end of the month, in a safe, effective and progressive manner.
PlankAwayJanuary Challenge Targets Table
|Day||level 1||level 2||level 3|
Ready to commit?
Tweet this and add some accountability, and why not get some friends to join you too.
Did you know? you are much more likely to achieve your goals if you share them with your friends and also get them to join you.I'm doing #PlankAwayJanuary and you can join me for free. A daily Plank Challenge to keep me motivated. Click To Tweet
The Plank Exercise
There are 3 variations of the plank designed for the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of fitness.
- Keep neutral spine alignment
- Maintain a straight line through shoulders, hips, knees & ankles
- Maintain abdominal tension
- Remember to breath
Beginner – Half Plank (from knees)
A half plank exercise, also known as a modified plank, is a variation of the traditional plank exercise that targets the muscles in the core, including the abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back muscles. It is a great exercise for those who are new to planks or who want to modify the traditional plank to make it easier or more challenging.
To do a half plank exercise, start by getting into a plank position with your feet side by side and your elbow resting on the ground. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet.
Regular – Forearm Plank or Straight Arm Plank
To do a plank exercise, you start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Your body should be straight and tense, with your weight balanced evenly between your hands and feet.
Plank Up Downs
The Plank Up/Down exercise is a dynamic variation of a traditional plank exercise where you will alternate between a forearm plank and a straight-arm plank. This is achieved by moving one arm at a time from the forearm plank position to the straight arm plank position followed by the other arm and returning back to the start position by returning one arm at a time back to the forearm plank position.