At-Home Ab Workout: Plank Challenge!
Here’s a little fitness inspiration for you guys to show you how simple it is to work out at home with ZERO EQUIPMENT (except maybe a mat, if you wish!)
Start the next 10 days with a plank challenge.
- Your ultimate goal is to hold a plank for 2 minutes.
- Start slow! Start with 15 seconds, keep that booty down, back flat, core tight, abs engaged & arms&/ hands aligned with your shoulders.
- Each day, add 15 secs & watch yourself get stronger as the days go by!
This challenge isn’t only about gaining physical strength but more about realizing that you have the mental strength to achieve anything you set your mind to so long as you take baby steps everyday.
No matter what that thing is, how challenging & how impossible it seems in the now, don’t give up. Keep working towards it & ALWAYS believe in yourself. Everything your heart desires is within your reach. Only you have the power to define your limits.
Just a few months ago, I couldn’t hold a plank for 30 seconds, let alone 2 minutes. My arms were frail & weak, I had hardly any strength in my core & my legs barely had the physical strength to sustain my body as I went up the stairs. Safe to say, the idea of planking in & of itself seemed far beyond reach.
But the keyword is: “seemed”. Don’t let what seems hold you back from what CAN BE. You can be & do anything you want to be. It doesn’t have to be fitness-related; it simply has to be something you want so bad that you fight with all the fight in you to get it. I wanted my health & my life back & I reclaimed both.
I have flashbacks to myself struggling to walk up the stairs with a pile of laundry, having to stop halfway to catch my breath & pray that heart palpitations go away. Those flashbacks make me sad, but also remind me that they’re not a representation of who I am today, but a part of what shaped me into this stronger version of myself. I pushed myself & fought with every bone in my body to get to where I am today. You can too. These pictures of me holding a plank isn’t about how strong I became physically, but about how regaining control over my mind was the key to getting there.
AT-HOME AB WORKOUT
Here’s a little compilation of at-home exercises to get your plank on & strengthen your core!
Planking builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline, tone your core, improve your balance, posture & flexibility, & depending on the type of plank, engage your back, arms, shoulders, glutes & hamstrings!
- For plank holds: You’ll want to start slow! Hold them for anywhere between 15 secs & 2 minutes, depending how you feel!
- For plank jacks: Aim for 3 sets of 30 reps (but again, take it slow!)
These are just a few ab workouts you can try at home (& I’ll suggest a few more that are not photographed here!):
- Forearm plank.
- Elbows should be bent & directly under your shoulders.
- Clasp your hands or spread them shoulder-width apart.
- Feet should be hip width apart, abs contracted, toes tucked to lift the body, core engaged & body should be in a straight line from head to heels.
- This plank is easier to manipulate shoulder blades down & back into the right place & maintain proper form + also takes pressure off the wrists.
- Plank with arm/leg lift.
- Targets the upper back, chest, sides, core & glutes + helps improve balance, stability & muscular endurance.
- Always lift the opposite arm & leg!
- A little trick that helps me find my balance is to focus on one specific spot or crack in the floor, depending where I’m working out so that I divert my focus from trying to balance. Suddenly, balancing is easier!
- Side plank.
- Helps build endurance, improves spinal stability & upper body and core strength (FOCUS: OBLIQUES!).
- Squeeze abs & glutes to keep body stabilized!
- Make sure weight is on the outer edge of the right foot, stack the left foot on top.
- Body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles & try not to let your hips drop!
- For me, extending my arm towards the sky helps with balance!
- Plank jacks.
- Cardio + abs = LOVELOVELOVE. Raise the heart rate, while working both upper & lower body, help strengthen core muscles & improve stability.
- Try to keep the pelvis steady and lower abs pulled in & engaged!
- & MOST IMPORTANTLY: don’t let the booty rise to the ceiling!
- Straight-arm plank.
- Engages arm muscles, specifically triceps + works core.
- While it’s effective as a full-body exercise because it also targets the upper body, it takes a bit of focus away from the abs!
Here are a few other suggestions that I do often (not pictured!):
- Walking plank.
- This one not only works the core, but also the shoulder, chest & arm muscles. It’ll help carve out your upper body overall!
- In forearm plank, laterally arm crawl the length of your mat. Keep your core engaged & shoulders & hips squared to the floor as you move the right elbow & right foot.
- Maintain the same body position as you move left elbow & left foot, travelling the length of your mat.
- Reverse the direction, returning back to starting point.
- Mountain climbers.
- Mountain climbers demand stability from the shoulder & the core and deliver plyometric training, due to the quick & controlled knee drives. So they are great for strength & cardio training, but also help build range of motion if your hips are tight. They are great for improving all around mobility.
- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROPER FORM FOR THIS ONE ESPECIALLY: In a full plank position, engage your abs & pull your right knee in towards your chest, using your lower abs. Place the right toot back int he plank position & repeat with the left knee.
- These can be done either slow or quick – pace yourself & continue alternating knees for about 20-30 reps.
- Alternating shoulder tap planks (otherwise known as: HOT HANDS).
- The plank shoulder taps trains and strengthens your core, glutes, arms, wrists & shoulders. This exercise helps to reduce lower back pain, improves your posture & flexibility & tightens your midsection.
- Start in a full plank position. Keep your hips as steady as possible as you reach your right hand to tap your left shoulder. Place the right hand back into its stating position & then tap the left hand to the right shoulder. Continue alternating for about 20-30 reps. total.
- Side plank crunch.
- This one provides all the benefits of the side plank, with an added CRUNCH
- You’ll want to lie on your left side with your left hand on the floor beneath your left shoulder, right fingers behind head & let the inside of your right foot rest on the floor in front of your left foot.
- TIGHTEN YOUR CORE & push into the left hand to lift your body so it forms a diagonal line from head to heels. Crunch forward up & down, bringing your right elbow to your left one, return to starting position & continue your reps. Switch sides & repeat!
- One-legged plank.
- This one challenges your balance, while working your core!
- Basically, you get into a straight-arm plank & then lift your right leg tup & hold. Lower it down, then repeat with the left leg!