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Planktober is a 30-day plank challenge for beginners. Get your plank challenge calendar and learn about the proper form and benefits of planking!
This is the third annual Planktober at So Very Blessed and I’d love for you to join me!
Even if you’ve never planked before, you can take this challenge. I’ve included plank variations below for any fitness level, so even if you can’t get up and down off the floor, you can still join the challenge.
And don’t go through it alone! It’s WAY more fun and motivating to take the challenge with a group, so come join us in the Christian Weight Loss for Women group on Facebook for an extra dose of encouragement and support.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this 30-day plank challenge for beginners.
The 30-Day Plank Challenge for Beginners
The first thing you need is your calendar.
Now, I want to make it clear that the times on this calendar are just a recommendation, not a rule.
Everybody has a different starting place and there is nothing wrong with yours, wherever it may be.
If you can’t plank for 20 seconds yet, no big deal! Hold it for as long as you can and push yourself to increase that time over the course of the month.
Download and print your Planktober 2018 30-day plank challenge for beginners calendar here.
Plank Everyday – Tips to Stick With The Challenge
If you’ve been around So Very Blessed awhile, you know I’m all about making one small change to lose weight and make healthier changes in your life.
This is the PERFECT one small change to make right now.
It takes less than 5 minutes and you don’t even have to change clothes. Plank in your pjs. Plank in your work clothes.
Plank outside, in your kitchen, or in a hotel room.
I know how easy it is to get excited about a challenge, stay strong for a few days, and then let my excitement fizzle out. Don’t let that happen!
Small, steady, consistent changes are going to help you transform your life.
To best stick with this challenge, here are a few suggestions:
- Print out the calendar and stick it someplace you will see it every day (on your bedroom mirror, on your refrigerator, in your living room, etc).
- Set a daily reminder on your phone for a time of day that you are usually able to spare 2 minutes. Whether that’s bedtime, first thing in the morning, or your lunch break, a simple alarm can be so helpful in staying consistent!
- Get a friend involved. Ask someone in your life to do it with you or just come join the Christian Weight Loss Group and share your progress with us. Just make sure you tell someone about it!
- Make it fun! Taking pictures and sharing them is the best thing I’ve found to make it more fun! Last year, I planked with pumpkins, I planked in the park, I planked with babies, I planked with my mom, and so much more. Get creative! (It’s also a great distraction while you’re holding your plank!)
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My best friend is in town visiting with her sweet baby boy, so he helped me with my #Planktober plank today in what was my second home growing up! So many memories there (but none involving planking…until today!). Where did you do your #plank today? #SoVeryBlessed #WeightLossJourney
How To Do A Plank – Proper Plank Form
The most important things to remember when you are planking are:
- Keep your body in a straight line. Don’t stick your booty in the air, even though it makes it feel soooo much easier. I get it, but don’t do it! And don’t go to the other extreme and let your back sag.
- Position your arms directly underneath your shoulders. Don’t spread your hands farther out like in the pushup position.
- Engage your core. This is the whole reason you’re doing the plank, so don’t let your body just hang out here. Engage those muscles! Imagine pulling your belly button back toward your spine and bracing yourself as if someone were about to punch you.
- Keep breathing. I know I just told you to engage your core and my first tendency is always to hold my breath, but don’t do it! Oxygen is important, which we obviously know, but don’t forget about that when you are focusing on holding your body up!
- Don’t drop your head. I know it’s easy to do because you’re putting to much effort into just holding the plank, but don’t add needless neck strain! Keep your head in a neutral position, in line with the rest of your body, without straining upward or dropping downward.
For even more in-depth tips on proper plank form, check out this post on The Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Planking Form.
Planks For Beginners – Plank Variations
Plank On A Wall
This is the easiest modification of a plank for beginners. If you can’t get up and down off of the floor easily or just haven’t built up the strength yet, this is your starting place.
Take a step or two back from the wall and lean onto your forearms (keep your forearms in front of your shoulders, not above or below), still remembering to engage your core and keep your body in a straight line.
The farther your feet are from the wall, the more challenging this will become.
Plank On A Countertop, Table, Or Couch Arm/Back
Your next step from the wall is moving to planking on a countertop. Find something that is solid (so be careful if your table or couch scoots when you lean into it!) and gives you a surface to lean on that is lower than you were resting on the wall.
This gives you more of a challenge since you are supporting more of your body weight in this position.
Plank On Knees – Extended Arm
This is a common plank variation for beginners that gives you more of a challenge than the previous two variations since you are on the floor and supporting even more of your body weight while you hold your body up.
Again, make sure your body is in a straight line from the top of your head down to your knees and engage that core!
Plank On Knees – Forearms
Resting on your forearms instead of your full extended arms gives your upper body just a little bit more of a challenging workout.
Extended Arm Plank
Keep the challenge going by pushing yourself to lift your full body off the ground now.
Again, dropping down to your forearms adds that extra boost to your workout. Be careful not to let yourself sink down into your shoulders here!
Keep your shoulders strong and down away from your ears.
What Do Planks Do
Planks are a uniquely awesome workout. From the outside, they look like they should be so easy, but as soon as you try them, you’ll quickly find that it’s a full-body workout!
It’s more efficient than a lot of other exercises because it involves your abs, your shoulders, your arms, your legs…all at the same time!
Here are a few other benefits of regular planking:
- Planking builds the muscles of your core, which in turn makes every other activity in your life easier. Bending to pick up groceries, lifting kiddos, even just walking. Having a stronger core affects all of your movement in the best kind of way!
- Planks increase your flexibility. It may not feel like a stretch, but the posture of a plank both stretches and strengthens your muscles, increasing your flexibility.
- Planking improves your posture. In a plank, your goal is to keep your body straight, which counteracts a lot of those daily activities where we are hunched over our phones, our computers, and in front of our TVs.
- Planks improve your balance. In a plank, you are finding that balance between your head and your toes, which helps you find your center of gravity.
- Planking reduces back pain. When you build the muscles of your core, you take more of the burden off of your back, reducing those aches, pains, and strains of back pain.
- Regular planks help you burn more calories. Because planking is a full-body exercise, it burns more calories than other exercises and when you strengthen all of those muscles you are using, you end up burning even more calories, even when you aren’t actively planking!
- Planking boosts your confidence (and your mood!). As with all exercise, it feels pretty darn awesome to see yourself grow stronger and crush the goals that used to feel impossible. #WillPlankForHappiness
You have all the tools you need. Now go get planking!
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