Back when I danced regularly, we were forced into doing planks. I kid you not- if we hit the ground before a minute was up, my less then 5 foot ballet instructor would stand over us and scream like she was our drill instructor. Needless to say, I really disliked them, and as soon as I quit dancing I quit doing planks. Fast forward a decade or so to just a few months ago, when I decided that planks might be a good idea. For those of you who don’t know what a plank is, check out Tina’s explanation on her blog Best Body Fitness. When I do planks, I can feel my core muscles working almost instantly.

I try to regularly do the three standard positions on a regular basis:

  • elbow plank
  • straight arm plank
  • Side plank (balancing on my forearm & foot)

So why the Plank Challenge? If you’re following me on twitter or read my monthly recaps/goals for the month (here’s my January Recap/February goals post), you’ll know that I enjoy setting goals for myself. By setting a goal, such as an overall time goal for the month, I stay motivated and have something to strive for each week. However, by setting a time goal for the month instead of per day, I allow myself a little flexibility (like the week I lost my voice and had a wicked cold), which I think is also important.

It’s been a great first month of strengthening those core muscles, and I’m happy with the way I have my monthly plank challenge set so far. Here’s how I’ve broken it down. Most days, this is what I do:

  • elbow plank- hold for 45 seconds
  • side plank (right side)- hold for 30 seconds
  • straight arm plank- hold for 45 seconds
  • side plank (left side)- hold for 30 seconds

This gives me a total of 2:30 on a regular day. Fridays (my yoga/strengthening/stretching day), I tend to hold my slide planks for 45 seconds each instead of 30 (giving me a total of 3:00 for the day), and maybe once every week or two I will do my elbow and straight arm planks for 30 seconds instead of 45 seconds each. No matter how i end up doing them, it’s been fun to see my strength steadily increasing over the last month.

Now it’s your turn to share! Do you do planks regularly? If you do, what are your favorite types of planks to do?