30-day-plank-challenge-male

The 30 Day Plank Challenge Will Supercharge Your Core!

Recently we’ve had some emails from our loyal readers who wanted to know how to compliment their diet with suitable exercises to tone their body. 

Introducing…The 30 day plank challenge!

It’s designed to take you from a simple 20 second plank, all the way up to 5 minutes – by which time you will not only feel the benefits, but see them!! Impossible? Nothing is impossible if you stick to the plan, so let’s explore what’s involved.

Simply holding your body in a plank for X seconds. Starting at an easy 20 seconds and working your way through 30 days of slight increments.

Your body will thank you!

We all know the core is important, so here’s something I think you will love! Performing the plank not only stabilises your core but also works oblique areas, strengthens your back and thighs but also gives you an arm workout.

The following areas are being worked when performing a plank, even for 30 seconds! 

The 30 Day Plank Challenge – Let’s do it!

Download this plank challenge progress chart and tick off your progress each day!

30 day plank challenge chart

  • Day 1 & Day 2 = 20 seconds
  • Day 3 & Day 4 = 30 seconds
  • Day 5 = 40 seconds
  • Day 6 = REST Day <<< make sure you do rest, it’s as important as the workout itself!
  • Day 7 = Day 8 = 45 seconds 
  • Day 9, Day 10 & Day 11 = 60 seconds / 1 minute
  • Day 12 = 90 seconds / 1 minute 30 seconds
  • Day 13 = REST Day!
  • Day 14 & Day 15 = 90 seconds / 1 minute 30 seconds
  • Day 16 & Day 17 = 120 seconds / 2 minutes
  • Day 18 = 150 seconds / 2 minutes 30 seconds 
  • Day 19 = TAKE A REST
  • Day 20 & Day 21 = 150 seconds / 2 minutes 30 seconds 
  • Day 22 & Day 23 = 180 seconds /  3 minutes 
  • Day 24 & Day 25 = 210 seconds / 3 minutes 30 seconds
  • Day 26 = REST, you deserve it. 
  • Day 27 & Day 28 = 240 seconds / 4 minutes
  • Day 29 = 270 seconds / 4 minutes 30 seconds 
  • Day 30 = 300 seconds / 5 minutes!

Here’s how a World Record holder does it:

WOW!

20 seconds to 5 minutes within 30 days!

To make the 30 day plank challenge effective make sure you’re doing the plank correctly. The easiest way to avoid your hips dipping or your bottom being too high is to keep your elbows in, hands flat and your head down.

Check out this video to make sure your technique is right!

 

The core often get overlooked. Regular sit ups generally only work upper abs. The full core is the toughest place to work and it’s where weight goes on quicker than anywhere else – for most, including me!

So, it really is that simple! At most, it will take 5 minutes out of your day, but the benefits are incredible. What’s stopping you? You could have done today’s plank in the time it took to read this article 🙂

Need support? 

The perfect support when performing the plank is a soft, flat service. I’d very much recommend doing the 30 day plank challenge on a yoga mat. I’d recommend one of these

30 day plank challenge

Mine is the purple one. 

Track your progress with other plankers

Join me and many others in the Forum or let me know in the comments below to share your progress! Have you tried this challenge? What other workout challenges have you tried?

Don’t miss out on the 30 Day Bulgarian Lunges Challenge… powerful, toned legs await!

 

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Comments 83

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      You can keep going after the challenge is over, keep pushing up by 20-30 seconds every day or every 2 days like above. You’ll soon become addicted to beating your time and will notice the difference in the strength of your core! What day/time are you on at the moment?

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  1. Im a BIG guy looking to start something with my son to work on our overall health. Any issues with a 300lb+ guy holding planks? Physically I have no worries, but are there any other issues to be concerned of (joints/bones)?

  2. Day one is in the books! Think I need to adjust my position…. My back is hurting. I felt like I could go over 20 seconds… Should I have kept going?

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      Hello! Great start. Your back muscles will be working too, so they might ache a little but if your back aches during then yes adjust what you’re doing. Maybe get someone to look at your position whilst in the plank.
      If you feel you can go longer than the time suggested GO FOR IT! Keep us posted with your progress, we’ve got a thread in the forum dedicated to it 🙂
      Love the name btw “Determined”.
      – Jess

  3. Hey Jessica, I am on my fourth day of plank challenge and feeling great! What should I do after I complete 30 days? Keep going/stop?

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      1. Right now it’s really hard so I’m waiting for the “easier” part:-). After 30 days should I increase the time every day as well??

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          It get’s “easier” when your core starts getting super tough 🙂
          I remember the feeling of looking down at my timer and it said 10 seconds, then a week later, the first time I looked down it would say 30 seconds. Progress! 🙂

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  4. Hi, I’m up to day 15 and am only just managing the 1.30. I’m worried that I will not be able to stick it out to the full 2 minutes tomorrow. Should I keep going at 1.30 until it is do-able or do you have any other advice? Thanks

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      1. Well I got to 2 mins in two 1 minute goes with a 15 second gap in between but it really hurts my back. Am I doing something wrong? How can I tell? There is no-one who can look while I am doing it.

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      If you need to, break up the increases by 15 seconds at a time. It really helps me to do it with someone else. Have the timer there so you can see it but get them to encourage you and push those final few seconds! 🙂

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      1. last question: can i use it for 3reps in 1 day for example in day 9 ill plank in 60 seconds 3 reps for 1 day a total of 3mins for that day (9). or just use 1 rep for that day? thanks

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          Questions are always welcome!
          Yes you can do more reps, that doesn’t mean you have held the plank for 3 minutes though 😀
          It means that when you start doing 1min 30 seconds you should be able to achieve it easier!

          1. i didn’t mean it that way but yes thanks for answering my question. so doing more reps in 1 day isn’t a problem. thank very much on my way to day 14 now. great exercise great helpful site you have. thanks…

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  5. On day 29 today with the full 5 minutes tomorrow. These last 2 days have been REALLY tough but with tomorrow being day 30, I am pumped and ready for the challenge.

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      1. is there such thing as over-doing the plank exercise? like will there be a limit of sets/reps per day? for example for 1 whole day can i plank for 1set3reps in the morning 1set3reps in the afternoon 1set3reps at night.. or more, if ever you can?

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          Generally muscles need rest after being worked. So you could do a lot of plank sets then ensure you rest accordingly. And stretch!! The plank works a range of areas so you’ll need to ensure you stretch all over.

  6. I’m up to 3:30 so far and going ok, but I’m finding that what’s holding me back is not my abs, but my shoulders. I’m getting muscles aching from the top of my shoulders, down the sides to the top of my arms (please excuse my lack of knowledge of human anatomy!). Is this normal? Or could it be I’m out of position?
    Thanks!

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      Hi Nick, yeah you should feel it on your shoulders – does it burn? It’s a great burn. The good thing about the Plank is that it works so much of your body. You’re not out of position at all. Keep going 3.30 is awesome, push push push to get to the next stage.
      – Jess 🙂

      1. Hi Jess,

        Yup. It certainly burns! I just wasn’t expecting as much on the shoulders! Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll keep on it!
        What should you do if you don’t make a time one day? Try again the next day and if you still don’t then have a rest day?
        Ta

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  7. Hi. I took the 30-day challenge starting January 1, 2014 and I succeeded through to January 30th; on the 30th day, I held the plank for 5 minutes. That was very hard!!! Thereafter, I decided to try for 30 more days of 5 minutes daily with rest days inbetween, just like I had done during the first challenge. I did 21 days of 5 minutes with three rest days spread throughout and then I hit a point where I could not do the 5 minutes. At the time that I did it, I was tired, had not stretched and had a headache. So, I did 3:22. The next day, in order to “make up”, I did a 5:15 second plank. But, then the next day, I could not go longer than 4:00 because it was too intense. Have I reached a plateau and should I rest. My left shoulder always has more intense burning than does my right and it seems to be too much. What are your suggestions? I also was thinking about varying the planks. Would that make it easier

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      Hello! Great story and progress, you made the 5 minutes – well done!! It can get pretty hard because it’s such an intense exercise. It really works such a huge area of your body. I would suggest the following:
      – Take rest days every other day now.
      – Do sets, so the day you plank do 1 set, as long as you can, then the next set maybe 20 mins later, then try another set. Aim for as long as possible of course! 🙂

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  8. Kinda bummed more people aren’t commenting on how things are going. I finished day 8 today and move up to a minute tomorrow. Held for 50 today so the transition should go smooth. I find playing music helps make the time fly…. Hope everyone is doing well!

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      1. Jess, I do this too! Then the first time I look at the stopwatch it’s usually past 1 minute.
        Mags, I’m at 4 minutes at the moment! I found that when I was going up past the 1 minute mark I counted chunks of 10 seconds. So at 1 minute I’d push for 3 more chunks to make it 1 min 30 etc. Keep going!!
        Caroline

  9. I have a question for you. I’ve been doing planks regularly in my gym classes, but usually it’s only a minute at most. We’ve incorporated moving planks (tough!) and T-planks, as well as side planks. I took on this challenge and I’m now on Day 10. My question is this: what is the difference between doing a plank with fully extended arms and doing one on your elbows? I usually do full arm ones, because I don’t feel that comfortable on my elbows.
    My gym instructor has checked my posture and confirmed that I’m holding it correctly, so that’s not my worry. I was under the impression that full arm planks are perhaps easier, but most people I know (on my level of fitness) say they find it easier on their elbows. Can you clarify the difference and the advantages/disadvantages of each position? I have pretty long arms and legs, which means I often have to adjust things a lot when I exercise to get it just right, but my torso is normal.
    Thanks.

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      Hi Cat,
      I would say doing the plank with fully extended arms will work your triceps more, and the plank on elbows works your shoulders more. Generally they will work your body all over 🙂
      – Jess

  10. I’m on Day 6 and it’s going really well. I wasn’t sure if I could even plank when I decided to take this on. I’m feeling really confident. I have had several friends/family members join me. I’m resting today and looking forward to the increase tomorrow.

  11. So I’ve really decided to quit putting this off and just start it already. I’m an overweight mother of 3 and the older I get the harder it is to loose weight. I tried the 20 seconds today and was really sad when I couldn’t reach 20 seconds in one rep 🙁 I guess one of my questions is has anyone noticed any weight loss with this? I know muscle weighs more than fat but was just wondering on others results. Also is I may ask Jess, I have back problems and I’m not concerned about hurting my back anymore but wondered if anyone has commented about it improving back problems?? I’m going to try again shortly to get to my 20 seconds. I will keep trying till I succeed, no doubt!

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      Hello!
      When you’re counting try to count in chunks. 30 seconds is 3 chunks for example. AND remember to breathe!! 🙂
      You might see weight loss from this challenge but weight loss won’t happen without a steady and clean diet. Have you looked at the Paleo diet?
      It’s easy to follow and you’ll see your body change! Take a look at what you eat and don’t eat on my Paleo food list <<< here. This might help you achieve the plank challenge 🙂 - Jess

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  12. Hi, will this help in getting rid of a beer belly? Starting to develop a rather unsightly gut so might start this challenge tonight but was thinking i would start at more than 20 seconds (if im able to!).

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  13. Started 6 wks back – hit 3 mins for first time today; then 40 push ups, followed by 4 more sets of 2 minute planks interspersed with 30 push ups each. So, 11 mins total planking & 160 push ups – 5 mins seems along way off !

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  14. Back on this – after a month of no planks (running instead), I went to 2 mins. Pretty happy! Bring on the increments!!

  15. I started the challenge simply because I was curious to see if I could hold 20 seconds because it looked so easy. Much to my surprise I kept going, again, just to see if I could get to the next level. It’s funny because the idea of doing 90 seconds seemed ridiculous when I was doing 30. But each time I continued to surprise myself. Tomorrow is my 5-minute day and I’m amazed that I’m saying that. This is a great exercise and really makes you realize that incrementally you ARE building up strength, and it’s also interesting how it impacts the mind when you are faced with a bigger milestone.

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      Hi Konagod
      Awesome story – Did you make 5 minutes? I bet you got there and it felt great!
      The challenge certainly is one that pushes you mentally, probably even more than psychically – look at the world record holder, he went for hours!! 🙂
      Thanks so much for sharing!!
      – Jess

  16. Well when is a good time to level off after the challenge, and is it a good idea to do the bulgarian lunge challenge simultaneously?

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      Hi Bradley,
      It’s up to you if you want to keep the challenge going once you hit 5 minutes, how are you finding it?
      Yes do the lunge challenge too, two great ways to build strength.
      – Jess

  17. Hi! I managed to hurt my back with improper form so I’m on rest days for the next few days. My question was am I supposed to start over at day 1 after my back heals? Thanks

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  18. Hi! this was my first day and somehow i was able to do for 40 secs and i did 3 reps. I wanted to know if its okay to do the plank barefoot and also should we keep the calf muscle tight or normal.

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  19. Jessica,
    I just found this site today, and I intend to start this tomorrow. It seems like a good day to start, the last day will be the day before my birthday. That will make a good 67th birthday present for me. I hope I can do it! I have mild cerebral palsy.

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  20. Hello. I just started this challenge 4 days ago and I was wondering. About how many days of doing this does it take until you notice the change in you appearance?

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  21. Hello, today was day one for me and I feel pumped an ready. A little nervous about the time increases at 1 min. But I’m not there yet. This should be awesome

  22. Haii Jessica… I am 60 kg… Is doing plank alone is enough to reduce whole body weight ?? Or else I should do other exercises combined with planks. Pls help me..

  23. My husband and I started the challenge on April 1st. He’s 67 and I’m 52. It’s not easy, but we will continue. Today is our day of rest!

  24. I’ll start it tomorrow! Hope I can shake off my belly! But instead of 20 seconds, I will start with 2min 30s because that’s the time I’ve been setting for myself. I’ll take pics during the rest sessions. Wish me luck and I hope I’ll get ripped asap.

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