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Ultimate Plank Challenge: Week One Recap

A big thanks to all of your who are participating in the Ultimate Plank Challenge. I have been so blown away with all the Instagram and Facebook posts! There have been some really fun posts, cool stories and creative pics and videos!

I am going to do a weekly recap and end of challenge wrap up to serve as a resource for anyone who might want to do the challenge on their own in the future. I think it will be helpful to have all the exercise photos and descriptions in one place instead of scattered around in social media posts.


This challenge is to celebrate the release of my book, Ultimate Plank Fitness. It includes 101 variations of plank exercises that use everything from bodyweight to gliding discs to stability balls to weights…and more! PLEASE BUY A COPY! This was an 18 month project for me and I’m so insanely proud of how it turned out!

The way this challenge works is that every day I give you a short (less than 5 minute) plank workout assignment. The challenge moves through a variety of different planks and related exercises from full plank to side plank to reverse plank and more. The idea is at the end of 31 day of consistently planking you will see a big improvement in your core strength and overall strength.

Note, it’s not too late to join in on the May Challenge! Many people have started a few days late and are just following along from whatever day they are on.

Here’s a day-by-day look at week one!



I set up day one to serve as a test to show you where you started with your plank prowess and core strength. It’s a max hold in a full plank position. Just set a timer and get to it! Remember, there is no magical “good” number…you are where you are and there’s room to get stronger and improve from there.

Form notes:
– straight body position from head to heels
– shoulders stacked over wrists
– no sagging of the hips or dip in the low back
– keep your booty out of the air
– gaze right in front of your fingertips to keep the neck long

– squeeze through your quadriceps to help support the core
– press into the palms and engage the chest to support the hold
– max hold while maintaining perfect form…when form breaks down, timer stops


3x 60 second of cheetah plank crunches with 30 seconds rest between sets.

Form notes:
– start in full plank with shoulders stacked over wrists
– alternate drawing the knees in towards the chest
– slightly round thorough the back to engage chest and give you room to draw the knee in
– modification is to drop to the knees, which I’m showing in the bottom video



Take the knee over to the opposite elbow for a big challenge for the obliques! 3 x 60 seconds once again with 30 seconds rest between.

Form notes:
– start in full plank position with shoulders stacked over wrists
– alternate drawing knee to opposite elbow
– modification is to drop to knees
– want an extra challenge? Do 1 minute full plank from day 1, 1 minute knee to chest from day two and three minutes of the twisted variation


Get ready for pulsing planks. This exercise is deceptively hard! I’m looking for 5 sets of 10 on each leg.

Form notes:
– come into full plank position with shoulders stacked over wrists
– maintain a straight body position throughout and avoid lifting hips up
– lift one leg about 6 inches off the floor and pulse it up and down for 10 reps
– option to modify by performing exercise on the knees


Five sets of 10 (one set is 10 taps total, not 10 per arm). Take breaks any time you need to.

Form notes:
– start in high plank with shoulders over wrists
– one arm at a time, tap the hand to the opposite shoulder
– modification on the knees


So one of ideas behind my new book, Ultimate Plank Fitness, is that plank exercises can not only work the core but the whole body. You’ll feel that with Full Plank Donkey Kick. Glutes and hamstrings do a ton of work in this variation. Your assignment is three slow sets of 10 on each leg. Want more glute work? Add on two more sets of 10 of the pulsing planks from day 4! Happy planking!

start in full plank position with shoulders over wrists
– lift one leg up and bend knee with heel point to ceiling
– make small lifting motions of heel straight up to the ceiling
– modification on the knees



Spinal Balance in Full Plank wraps up the full plank section of the challenge and is the last day of the first week!

Your assignment is three sets of 20 second hold on each side for a total of one minute on each side. Beware…this is an extremely difficult variation of plank so I recommend the knee modified version for the long hold.

Form notes:
– start in full plank with feet slightly wider than the hips
– first lift up one foot about 6-12 inches off the floor and then lift up the opposite arm, reaching it straight out in front of you with bicep by ear
– try your best to keep the hips and shoulders square to the floor and the spine in a straight line

And there’s week one for you!

Are you participating in the challenge? How’s it going for you?

Not participating? Join in!

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Cassie May 8, 2015, 6:14 pm

    Planks are such a great move!

  • Jen@jpabstfitness May 9, 2015, 2:27 pm

    I have been loving this challenge, so much so that I just ordered your book. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

    • Jen May 10, 2015, 5:00 pm

      yay! thank you SO MUCH!

  • sabrina May 9, 2015, 8:07 pm

    I preordered your book as soon as it was available.
    Love the challenge, so much respect for you and your ministry.
    We are blessed by your passion, thank you for doing the challenge, it was the only way I would of ever experienced your gift of being a great trainer. Yeap, live all the way in Hawaii, on Oahu – North Shore.
    Getting ready for the hot summer days with your book .
    PEOPLE you need to get Jen’s book ASAP.

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