This free 30-Day Plank Challenge was designed for beginners to intermediates. In this post, we’ll demonstrate proper form for 30+ effective plank variations targeting your whole core and shoulders.
These exercises make up the 30-Day Plank Challenge daily workouts, which you can follow by downloading the printable 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF.
So, let’s get straight to the core of this plank challenge.
30-day plank challenge
Eight hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds. That’s how long a 62-year-old former US Marine, George Hood, held plank in 2020 to beat the world planking record.
Wow, my abs ache just thinking about it!
But this month, we challenge you to follow our 30-Day Plank Challenge chart. Unlike Hood, we won’t have you training 2,100 hours of plank, but we will build you up to a 5-minute finale on Day 30.
Plus, in this article, we share videos of 30 variations of plank, including side plank and reverse plank, to build your core in new ways.
Included with our 30-Day Plank Challenge workout is a free, printable 30-Day Ab Challenge worksheet to track your progress throughout the month.
This plank challenge includes easy, intermediate, and advanced exercises. Of course, we’ll work up to the hard plank positions.
Additionally, our 30-Day Plank Challenge is optimized for both males and females. Ideally, you do the workouts with your partner or spouse.
Plus, you don’t need any equipment outside of a watch or timer.
Why Planks are Important
Planks are an isometric exercise and a vital part of a well-rounded fitness routine. The plank exercises we’ve selected will work multiple muscles within a single move.
Within the plank variations below, you’ll be engaging multiple core muscles (abdomen and spine), back muscles, lower body muscles (glutes, hips, thigh, quad, hamstring), and upper body muscles (chest, trapezius, shoulders).
Doing a plank is also an integral part of other beneficial activities such as yoga, where the plank is heavily utilized in sun salutations, chaturanga, and a variety of poses.
Many people ask, “Can you get a 6-pack from just planking?”
Yes, but performing planks alone isn’t a guarantee for a six-pack. It’s best to incorporate this 30-Day Plank Challenge into your current fitness routine and, most importantly, nutrition plan.
But, before you leave this page thinking you were guaranteed a six-pack, remember that planks will help get you there and many other benefits too.
The Benefits of Planks
1) Planks Work Every Part of Your Core
Your core is your body’s foundation and is just as necessary to play sports as it is to prevent injury in everyday life.
There are three muscles that make up your abdomen.
Starting deep in your core is the transversus abdominis. This is the stabilizer for your spine and pelvis.
One level above is two layers of oblique muscles which control lateral movements like side bends. At the top is the rectus abdominus which is what is associated with the six-pack.
You need to work all three of these in order to build your six-pack and have a flat stomach.
One quick note about six-packs: not everyone can achieve picture-perfect abs.
Genetics still plays a role. However, abs start appearing around 15% body fat and can be achieved through a mix of core exercises, full-body workouts, and a clean eating plan.
2) Planks Improve Back Pain and Poor Posture
Performing planks lengthen your spine and work both sides of your body equally.
Not only does this prevent injury because you’ve eradicated muscular imbalances, but it will also improve your posture and protect your spine.
Plus, planks work the glutes like no other. Your glute muscles (aka butt muscles) not only give you a great-looking derriere but is also the foundation for a strong back.
For such simple exercises, planks really pack a punch! And the variety of planks provided in this 30-Day Plank Challenge will take your results to the next level.
3) Planks Increase Your Balance
Particularly side planks or standard planks with leg lifts, planks will push your balance (and flexibility) to the limits.
It goes without saying that improving your balance has long-lasting effects on your health. Once again, you’ll reduce your risk of injury — and not just today.
Working on your balance and flexibility as a young adult will have benefits far into your golden years.
4) Planks Boost Bone Density
Did you know that planks are one of the recommended exercises for folks with osteoporosis?
As a low-impact, bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere, doctors love to recommend it to their patients.
If you have osteoporosis, read on how to work up to a plank and make sure you’re doing it properly.
5) Weight Loss
Yes, you can lose weight by only doing planks. Although, a total body cardio and resistance program is a much better option.
Not only are you burning calories while planking, but you’ll be gaining muscle mass while following the 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF.
More muscle = higher metabolism = faster weight loss
How to Perform Plank With Proper Form
While simple, anyone who has tried to hold a plank for a minute or more will tell you that it’s not easy.
Foundationally, it’s important to have good form in plank to diminish any strain on your shoulders, wrists.
Below are the steps to performing a plank properly.
For Elbow Plank:
1. When first getting started, we recommend bringing in a mirror to check your spine and arm alignment. It can also help to do this on a soft surface, like a yoga mat or you can bring a towel for your elbows.
2. Begin by lying on the floor, face down. Lift yourself onto your toes and your forearms. Your arms should be at a ninety-degree angle with the floor, meaning that your elbows are directly under your shoulders.
3. Keep your head and neck relaxed, looking towards your hands which can be out in front of you.
4. Engage and flex your core, which feels like squeezing your butt muscles together. Keep straight and don’t sag your hips.
For High Plank:
1. Move up to your hands, so your fingers are facing forward with your index fingers parallel. Keep your wrists directly below your shoulders.
2. Spread your fingers and press them into your mat to distribute the weight and keep pressure off your wrists.
3. If this pose is too challenging to hold with proper form, drop to your knees or you can do it standing against a wall or piece of furniture. Then, build up strength to do a high plank on the floor.
Tip: You can flex your arms outward a bit so that you engage your shoulders more during plank. This will also keep the pressure off of your wrists.
For Side Plank:
1. Lie on your side and prop up your body on one elbow. Keep your elbow directly below your shoulder, with your forearm out in front, perpendicular to your body.
2. To perform high plank, place your hand on the ground directly below your shoulder and lift yourself up.
3. Keep your body in a straight line, including your neck.
4. Next, stack your feet, one on top of the other, staying on the outer edge of your bottom foot.
Tip: If holding a side plank is too difficult, drop to your knee with the leg closest to the ground. Keep the top leg straight.
For Reverse Plank:
1. Start seated with your legs out in front of you and your hands flat on the floor. Keep it snug with your arms pressed against your side.
2. With your fingers pointing towards your toes, lift your hips so that only your heels are touching the ground. Keep your body straight and your neck relaxed, looking forward.
Tip: You can also perform reverse plank on your elbows, with your forearms and hands towards your feet, if your wrists become sore.
Download The 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF
And get instant access to the free, printable 30-Day Plank Challenge Calendar.
The 30-Day Plank Challenge
The 30-Day Plank Challenge begins now!
This challenge is for everyone and anyone who wants to strengthen their core and build up to an impressive 5-minute plank by the end of the challenge.
The moves can be followed with our free downloadable 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF. Mark each day off with an “X,” note where you progressed, and see your strength improve throughout the month.
The only equipment we use for this challenge is this mat. It’s a thin mat that we use for all of our workouts.
If exercises on a hard surface bother you, this core comfort mat is quality and much thicker than most core mats out there.
Day 1. High Plank
Welcome to Day 1 of the 30-Day Plank Challenge! We’ll start off with high plank, and retest your high plank skills halfway through and again at the end.
This is the only move repeated multiple times to give you a benchmark on your progress.
Remember to keep your hands directly beneath your shoulders and squeeze your glutes to keep your back flat and butt down. If it gets too tough, drop to your knees or take a quick rest, but do your best to jump back in to finish the minute.
During these plank variations, spread your weight into your fingertips to decrease the load in your wrists.
Additionally, with your hands planted on the mat, you can further engage your shoulder muscles by trying to push your hands toward the edge of the mat.
Day 2. Rocking Elbow Plank
Start in the plank position on your elbows. Start rocking back and forth on your tip-toes, with your hands either clasped or on the floor in front of you.
Day 3. Elbow Side Plank
45 seconds on each side
Spend 45 seconds on first your right and then left side in side plank. Start with your elbow perpendicular to your body.
If it gets to be too much, bend your lower knee (like Ryan) and drop it to the floor.
Day 4. High Plank Jacks
1 minute 15 seconds
Keep your hands in place while hopping your feet side to side like lateral jumping jacks. Do your best to maintain form, not sagging in the middle or keeping your hips high.
Day 5. Elbow Reverse Plank
1 minute 15 seconds
Flip onto your back for reverse plank on your elbows. Keep your forearms parallel to your body and left your hips.
Keep your neck neutral, if it’s more comfortable, keep your neck lifted to look at your feet.
Now that you’ve completed planks in the high, elbow, side, and reverse position, which is most difficult?
If you have weak areas, make sure to note them on your 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF so that you can track progress.
Day 6. Elbow Side Plank Dips
45 seconds each side
Move onto side plank on your right elbow. With your body still aligned, crunch your right oblique as your drop your right hip towards the floor.
Continue for 45 seconds and then switch sides.
Day 7. High Plank Shoulder Taps
1 minute 30 seconds
Position yourself into a high plank. Lift your right hand and tap your left shoulder. Place your right hand back below your right shoulder, then lift your left hand to tap your right shoulder.
Day 8. Plank Up-Downs
1 minute 30 seconds
Begin on your elbows in plank and move up, one arm at a time to high plank, then back down again. Switch which arm you start with every few moves.
Day 9. Elbow Side Plank Thread the Needle
1 minute each side
Test your balance for 1 minute on each side. Start in a side plank on your right elbow. Lift your left arm straight up to the sky.
Slowly, crunch your obliques to move your left hand below the right side of the torso to “thread the needle.” Repeat and then switch after 1 minute.
If you need to modify put your knee down like Ryan.
Day 10. High Reverse Plank
1 minute 45 seconds
Start seated and position yourself into a reverse plank on your hands. It’s most common to have your fingers facing towards your toes, parallel to your body.
Keep your neck relaxed, and it is fine to lift your head to look at your toes if that feels more comfortable. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together and lifting your chest skyward.
Day 11. Spiderman High Plank
1 minute 45 seconds
Take your time with this one. From a high plank position, lift your right knee and bring it to your right elbow with your shin and knee out to the side.
Squeeze it here for a second before releasing your knee back to a high plank. Alternate sides throughout.
Day 12. High Side Plank Crunch
1 minute each side
Similar to yesterday’s Spiderman High Plank, you’ll be bringing your knee to your elbow, but up in side plank.
Start in a high side plank, with both your upper arm and leg lifted. Bring your elbow to your knee in a side crunch, then extend.
This move is one of the hardest balance exercises in the 30-Day Plank Challenge!
Day 13. Elbow Plank Side Lifts
Get into a plank position on your elbows. Lift your legs directly to the side, one at a time. Try to keep your body as straight and rigid as possible.
You should feel this one in the glutes!
Day 14. High Reverse Plank Knee Pulls
2 minutes 15 seconds
From a reverse plank position on your hands, lift one knee at a time in a crunch-like motion. Place the leg down and then alternate repeatedly.
Day 15. High Plank
2 minutes 30 seconds
You’re halfway done! Today we want to test how far you’ve come since doing high plank on Day 1. Can you make it the full 2.5 minutes?
Also, to celebrate the halfway mark, write down any progress on your 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF.
Do you have less back pain? Do you feel more in control when bending over to lift your Amazon package? It’s the little victories that are important!
Day 16. High Plank Down Dog Knee Pulls
1 minute 15 seconds each side
Start in a high plank position, and left your hips up to the ceiling into the yoga pose, downward facing dog. Lift your right leg to do three-legged dog, and then crunch to bring the knee to your nose.
Hold for a second and then release back into three-legged down. Continue for the full time and then switch legs.
Day 17. Chaturanga Plank
2 minutes 45 seconds
Another favorite yoga pose, this chaturanga is the most advanced plank in our 30-Day Plank Challenge!
So, no worries if you need to drop your knees like Ryan does below. It’s still a very hard plank pose.
With your arms brushing against your sides like you’re at the mid-point of a tricep pushup, see if you can last the full time in chaturanga.
Day 18. Elbow Side Plank Leg Lifts
1 minute 30 seconds each side
A classic side plank variation, lift your top leg up and down. It doesn’t matter if you go slow or fast, just do your best to maintain form and keep your balance.
Day 19. High Plank Bird-Dog
From high plank up on your hands, lift your opposite arm and leg straight out. Lower and repeat on the other side.
To make this one more of a challenge for your balance, hold each side for a minute and a half before switching.
Day 20. High Reverse Plank Shoulder Taps
3 minutes 15 seconds
Can you tell we’re saving some of the hardest moves for the last stretch of your 30-Day Plank Challenge?
Position yourself in a reverse plank on your hands — and feel free to position your hands whichever way feels most natural. For us, we had them out towards the sides.
With your right hand, tap your left shoulder, and then alternate sides. Do your best not to sag or to rock to the side too much.
Day 21. Elbow Plank Hip Dips
3 minutes 30 seconds
From a plank position on the ground with your elbows propped up, swivel side to side so that each hip nearly touches the floor.
Your obliques will be on fire!
Day 22. High Side Plank Leg Circles
1 minute 45 seconds each side
A great workout for your adductors, circle your top leg and do your best to maintain balance while in a high side plank. Big circles or small, it’s your choice, and feel free to reverse directions halfway.
We did these on our forearms a few days ago but not that we’re in high plank you’ll feel more of a burn in your shoulders.
But only the good burn. If you feel any pain, modify by dropping your knee to the mat.
Day 23. High Plank Mountain Climbers
3 minutes 45 seconds
Just like the mountain climber cardio move, bring your knee up through the center of your body to your nose. Alternate legs.
We recommend going at a slow pace, squeezing your abs, and holding for a second when your knee is at your nose.
Day 24. High Reverse Plank Dips
Work your triceps in a reverse plank dip on your hands. Bend your elbows slightly and slowly lower your body until nearly touching the ground.
Sorry, Ryan got cut out of this video because he didn’t follow directions.
Day 25. Chair High Side Plank Cross Crunch
2 minutes each side
Also known as the Copenhagen plank, grab a chair and position your left leg on it in a side plank.
With your right leg hanging in midair under the chair, try to touch your right knee to your left elbow.
This is a very challenging, advanced, and freaking difficult plank variation. Have fun and do your best!
Day 26. Elbow Plank Side Taps
4 minutes 15 seconds
This one may feel like a break after all of the hard moves we’ve thrown at you during this 30-Day Plank Challenge! But it’s not because we want you to move as fast as possible.
In a low plank on your elbows, take turns tapping your right and left feet to the side.
Day 27. High Reverse Plank Leg Lifts
4 minutes 30 seconds
This move is your final reverse plank of the whole challenge, so do your best and put in some extra effort. From a reverse plank on your hands, take turns lifting each leg. Slow or fast, it’s your choice.
Day 28. High Side Plank
2 minutes 30 seconds each side
You’re nearly there! Today’s move is your last side plank of the program.
From a traditional side plank on your hands, stack your legs and focus on keeping your core straight.
If high plank gets to be too challenging, move down onto your elbow. Do your best to maintain a full side plank without your knee on the ground.
Day 29. Elbow Plank Pike Ups
4 minutes 45 seconds
From an elbow plank, jump up your feet together like a string lifts your hips straight up into downward dog. Jump it back for a great cardio and core workout.
Make sure you keep your back straight. If you feel your lower back arching, don’t jump so far.
Day 30. High Plank
Congratulations, you’ve made it to your last day! Test your planking skills with a standard high plank for 5 minutes. How have you progressed since Day 1?
You finished the 30-Day Plank Challenge
Congratulations on focusing on building a stronger body. As we mentioned above, many factors go into a healthy fitness routine that goes beyond a ripped core.
This 30 Day Plank Challenge was written for you, so make sure to listen to your body and modify as needed. By working on your overall fitness and nutrition, you will see the results you’re looking for!
If you’re looking to get started on a guided nutrition and fitness program, check out our Couple’s Clean Week program to kickstart a healthy lifestyle for you and your partner.
I need a fitness recommendation. What do I do?
We follow the programs on Beachbody On Demand. P90X3, LIIFT4, T25, and 21 Day Fix are a few of the best Beachbody workouts, all requiring minimal equipment.
Sign up for a free trial and request to join our BODgroup through the app so we can provide support and hold you accountable.
We also created the below free fitness plans and routines.
- 8-week total body Resistance Band Workout Routine
- 8-week, no equipment Bodyweight Workout Plan
- 30-Day Ab Challenge
- Couples Workout Routine
- Couples Yoga Flow Routine
- Couples Yoga Program
- Totally Free Beachbody Workouts
We hope that you get started and track your progress with our printable Body Measurement Chart.
I have questions. What do I do?
If you have questions about our 30-Day Ab Challenge, ask away in the comments below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible and update this article accordingly.
For other fitness resources, head over to our Work Out At Home page.
Download The 30-Day Plank Challenge PDF
And get instant access to the free, printable 30-Day Plank Challenge Calendar.
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