How to survive the plank challenge?

29 June 2020
Have you noticed that online training challenges are becoming increasingly popular? One of the most popular is the plank challenge. At first glance, the plank may seem easy, but those who have tried it know how difficult it is to hold the position for several minutes (especially if done correctly).
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The world record

The world record for the plank exercise is officially held by George E. Hood. At 62 years of age he managed to perform 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds in a row. This shows that it’s never too late to get fit and that the plank challenge can be done at any age. Hood trained for seven hours every day for 18 months and revealed his training routine: “I hold the plank position for 4-5 hours a day, then do 700 push-ups, 2.000 crunches and 500 squats.”

Without the need to set a new world record or exaggerate too much with training, we’re going to set you a challenge that allows you to overcome your limits.

The 30 day plank challenge 

The 30 day plank challenge for beginners consists of the following:

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You have two plank variants: the high plank and the regular plank. Here we choose the regular plank. You do this plank as follows: 

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched and rest your toes on the floor. 
  2. Raise your torso, flex your elbows and support the weight of your body with your forearms. Be sure to put the weight on your forearms, not your hands!
  3. Your whole body should form a straight line from the shoulders to the ankles, like a board.
  4. Tighten your abdominal and back muscles to avoid losing your position due to gravity.

Maintain the position correctly for 30 seconds. If you’re doing it well, repeat it 4 times. Next day, repeat the 30 seconds 6 times and on the third day you can try increasing it from 30 to 40 seconds. You need to challenge yourself a bit more each day. There’s a reason why it’s called “challenge”!

If you have a more advanced level you can start Day 1 of the challenge with more repetitions and/or for a longer duration. But be sure not to push your limits at the beginning, as the most important thing is to perform the posture well and increase the intensity of the training bit by bit. 

Crunches and a good posture

As you increase the duration and the repetitions, you will notice improvements in your abdominal, shoulder and back muscles. This will allow you to adopt a better posture in your daily life. If you manage to perform the plank challenge for 30 days in a row, you’ll not only prevent back pain but you’ll also achieve a firmer stomach.

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Sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated. Once the illusion of the first few days subsides, we start getting too lazy to do the exercise or to increase the intensity. That has happened to all of us! To avoid this, it’s a good idea to do the plank challenge with someone else. Challenge yourself and the other person to both perform 30 days in a row. You should make a video call every day to ensure that both of you keep that appointment. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the same physical preparation, each one of you performs it at their own pace, but the important thing is not to miss the daily appointment.

So, accept the challenge!

This blog is written by one of our Personal Trainers, Angelina Hammond.