The 30-Day Plank Challenge

by Erik Taylor
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The 30-Day Plank Challenge

If you’ve never had a strong core, you might not realize just how much it can impact your daily life. A strong torso helps shield against injury, can improve back (and possibly even knee) pain, improves posture, and promotes more efficient movement overall. If you’re new to exercise and/or have limited time to work out, prioritizing core strength is a smart strategy because it can make a dramatic difference in so many ways, and doesn’t take much time.

Core exercises are a great place to start if you are new to working out because most core moves are pretty simple, require minimal (if any) equipment, can be performed at home, and can be learned in minutes.

Why is doing a challenge important? When you’re trying to improve at something in life, the first step to success is setting a goal—this gives us motivation on those days we don’t want to exercise. Also, as you progress through this challenge, you will see improvement, and progress is highly motivating.

Like any challenge in life, you need to put in the work, be patient, stay positive, and celebrate small improvements.

The goal of this 30-day plank challenge is to see how long can you hold a plank. Obviously, we need to practice planking, but we also need to do other core exercises that will help us build a solid foundation.

Keep these things in mind as you progress through the challenge:

  • Practice proper form above all else.
  • Each week will get progressively harder.
  • At the end of each week, you’ll test to see how long you can hold a plank.
  • Rest days are a must—these allow your body to recover and get stronger.
  • Schedule time on your calendar each day to get your workout in.
  • Adjust the time you hold the plank and the rest intervals (either increase or decrease one or both) depending on your fitness level.
  • All of these exercises can be done at home without any equipment.


plank training plan rev

For more guidance on how to execute these moves with good form, check out this article.

Looking for more fitness challenges? Check out our other plans:

The 28-Day Squat Challenge
The 30-Day Walking Challenge
The 28-Day Run-Yoga-Meditation Challenge

Infographic designed by Tierra Wilson


  • Rabbit Armitage

    I think you need to be clearer on the difference between the walking plank and the alternating hand plank since the pictures are the same. I’m going to assume by “alternating” hand you are basically referring to the Plank Builder move. While the walking is simply going from left to right while moving your hands only

  • Julie Holden

    If a regular plank is already part of your routine, place a weight on your shoulders to increase the difficulty.

  • Lindsay

    I wish there was a printable version… the “print” button above did
    not even show the challenge information, mostly just the top toolbar.

    • nhmejia

      You can click on the image and it will pull up just that. Then print it.

    • Leigh

      When I opened using Firefox it would not print so I switched to Internet Explorer and was able to get it.

    • Blake Cab Burling

      Screenshot the page and copy to a word doc

  • MicErnest

    I have this on my phone and started this morning. Shared with my friend and sister and we are all doing the challenge.

    Typically I suck at planking cos I shake too much lol.

    Let’s see how goes.

    • Keep it up! The shaking goes away after a week or two, so don’t get discouraged by that. 🙂

    • Anita Dwenger

      Do you have an app on your phone? I could not find where to get it. Can you please share?

      • MicErnest

        I have the image on my phone not the app. Just download and save the image.

        • Anita Dwenger

          Thanks! I was hoping there was a place to record progress.

          • Beto

            You can keep track in a diary

    • shaking means you are doing it right!! So you don’t suck at all. If you are shaking 10 seconds in, then you are doing awesome!~

    • Yvette Richardson

      Day 5 side plank is a challenge!!!

    • Craig Hedrick

      How did you get it on your phone? Thats what I need.

  • Jennifer Acevedo

    What’s the difference between the walking plank and alternating hand plank? Pictures look the same and online it looks like everybody has different names for plank exercises

    • Mike

      I have the same question.

    • Rena

      Check out the link below the image. It is correct in the image on that page. Looks like someone made an oops on this one.

    • DrJack

      at the bottom of the chart is a hyperlink which takes you to a detailed explanation.

  • bobbieconnolly

    Started two days ago…..good luck to all!

  • Pam

    I want to start the plank but I have torn chest muscles, will the plank make this condition worse? What can I do to heal my torn muscles please?

  • Gabrielle McCann

    I”m going to give that a go – thanks!

  • I find plank SO hard – but it really lets me know it’s working. I am incorporating a lot more strength work to support my running and planking is a headliner.

    I might try this challenge next month….

  • Pat G Williamson

    I started today and did not do well 13.11 seconds and had trouble assuming the correct position my back did not want to cooperate. Shocked did not think it would be that hard. Convinced more than ever this is important and needed. So tomorrow is another day.

    • SunnyCO

      Hi Pat, it’s the exercises that we struggle the most with that are the most important for us to do. Keep up the good work! Good luck!

  • Bradley Beard

    I have screws in my left wrist because I had to have a bone removed. I cannot bend my wrist, so things like push-ups and burpees are impossible for me. Do you have any ideas on things I could do or ways I can modify the plank/push-ups?

    • Margaret

      If you can’t bend your wrists or it hurts I would suggest pushup bars or using a pair of hex dumbells. Keeps your wrists straight and still allows you to do the exercises. Position the pushup bars/dumbells where you would normally place your hands for a plank or pushup and grasp, then do your exercise. Hope this helps.

      • Bradley Beard

        Thanks. I have tried that with certain workouts, but it is difficult if i am doing a class and there are others around or I am having to move around a lot.

  • MonaMarie

    How do I get this on my phone? I just got the email today. Says it started May 1. How do I reset it and get the challenge?

  • Debbie Neff Clark

    Can this be printed off? I just got this today 5/16/15 so I will not be on the same day as others!

  • Yvette Richardson

    Started today, I managed to go 38 seconds but my knees started hurting so I stopped

    • Felita Viruet Delikat

      The key to a good plank is to keep core strong and hips as parallel to floor and try to distribute your body weight evenly. I am a runner and I do yoga I have had knee issues and I use to plank with more weight on legs than arms
      It seems right because our legs are stronger but in yoga I learn the balance of
      your weight makes some challenging poses much easier. good luck

      • Yvette Richardson

        Thank you!! I’ll be doing day 2 today and I’ll try to shift my weight more toward my arms and core. Usually my knees don’t bother me, it’s my left ankle, hopefully this will help me get stronger!

    • Lyn Jones

      38 seconds is better than not doing it at all. So I’d say your ahead of the game

      • Yvette Richardson

        Thank you!! I’m on day three today! Im trying to keep my weight balanced so it keeps my knees from going out.

  • Lyn Jones

    Just got this email today 5-16-15 anyone starting today.. It would be awesome to do this with a partner. 🙂

    • Jacqueline Risk

      I’m starting today too! Planked for 1 min 1 sec. My son beat me at 1 m 7 s.

    • Rebecca Decossas Cantley

      Started today (5/15) held for 1 min 10 seconds. OUCH!!!

      • Lyn Jones

        That’s a great start!

        • Rebecca Decossas Cantley

          Thank you very much!!

    • Lisa

      Hey there, Lyn! It’s Sunday, 5/17 @ 1:15 am, so I plan on starting this challenge today (sometime after the sun & I are up!). If you haven’t started – or don’t mind working w/ someone who is a day behind you, I’d be delighted to be your online partner. Feel free to let me know if you’re interested! Either way, I wish you the best of luck & hope it goes well.
      Lisa Paul

      • Lyn Jones

        Hi there Lisa!
        Yes that would be awesome to partner up. I did not start yesterday in hopes that someone would take me up on the partner offer. Here is my contact info
        facebook- dalinda jones
        Instagram- dalinda_jones
        yay! I am so excited for the next 30 days

  • I’m starting this one tomorrow.

    • Albert Tapp

      Same here too…..starting tomorrow.

  • Keith

    I wish these challenges would set up a daily email that you could sign up for and it would email you the next level of the challenge.

  • DalalStreetKing

    You mention “most core moves are pretty simple”. implying there core exercises other than plank. Are these all the core exercises? I clicked on the tag “core workouts” and page shows this same article. Am I missing something?

  • Steve West

    I was able to print from my iPhone by clicking on the pic from the email and using AirPrint.

  • Cassie

    I just lost 20 pound so I want to add planms and squats, the thing is I can only do planks for about 10 sec tgan I drop, how can I get stronger and I need to know how to properly do squats

  • Cassie

    It’s how can I get stronger so that I can do planks and properly do squats

  • Nettie Reid

    Looking forward to this challenge. I have struggled with these.

  • Loretta G. Blair

    Started this challenge today and held form for 45 seconds, rested then did one more for 30 seconds. I’ve always like planks in yoga so I added this challenge into my yoga routine right at the very end. I think I’m going to enjoy this.

  • shparekh

    How do I get this on my phone I.e. Myfitnesspal app?
    Thank you.

    • Felita Viruet Delikat

      yes the app or if you get the email I usually pull up email when they have cool work outs and I do from my iphone

  • Rotimi William

    Starting this challenge today! Hope I can stick to it lol

  • Dayna Dymarcik

    Do y0u have to do planks on your elbows or can you do them on your hands ? Been doing the challenge for 2 weeks love it

  • Marty P

    I tried to copy paste and print however it will only copy to day 8, do you have a printable version.

  • Leanne Perez

    I am now on day 11…… I am feeling so much better.. I can actually make it to 60 seconds without screaming in pain… lol…. I also have the squat and burpee app….. I set the reminders to do this every morning…. I do my planks at six, then the others after my daughter goes to school…. I have noticed such a difference in just the 11 days….. I LOVE these apps… Thank you so much, finally a free app, that actually works and shows progress in such little time…. stick with it, I promise it really does work…..

    • Emma

      What are the app names that you use please?

  • Cherie

    I’m in!

  • Laura Phillips

    I have not done a plank in years & I would just be starting to exercise. Have not exercised in awhile. I had the same problems as everyone else with pictures, especially the walking plank & spiderman plank. Is spiderman plank, knee in air? Or on floor?

  • vicky lou

    How do you add the challenges to the my fitness pal for exercise. You must burn some calories. Was going to try it tomorrow.

  • A_Lee700

    How do I get the challenge on the IPhone app? I seen other ask but haven’t seen any responses.

  • Daniela Rodriguez

    alright I’m in

  • Jamiw

    I have a couple challenge groups starting soon if anyone is interested to lose weight and get into a healthy lifestyle change. email me for detals its great if you are looking to lose a couple lbs or a lot of weight or even just tone. Let me help ! 🙂

  • naomi

    Can you do this , if you have Arthritis in your spine ????

  • Jaylene Little Halstead

    I want to do this, but I can’t get it to print so I can actually read it!

  • Candy

    I don’t have this on my phone so I would really like to print off the Plank Challenge but cannot get more than the first page which is a picture. Can you advise?

    • I downloaded it and yes it is a single picture. Just open it in image software and zoom in. I printed mine out but it is tiny. However since I know the context I can make most of it out without opening the image file. I jot progress notes on the hard copy.

  • Joanne Koonce-Hamar

    Is there a place to track daily completion or weekly progress from the “tests?”

  • SunnyMathews

    Starting on June 1 with 9 ladies from my virtual Red Hat Society chapter, Fit n Fabulous. We will post our progress on our closed FB group page.

  • Paul McClelland

    How do I join the 30 day Plank that starts on June 1?

  • Kerry Painter

    Great. I’m blind so pictures are no use to me whatsoever. Shame that. I really think MFP and others need to address issues such as this when it comes to home workouts. I am not one of them but there are a lot of housebound blind people who can’t afford or don’t have the confidence to go to the gym and having home workout routines would help them immensely.

  • Yvette Richardson

    Day 5 plank is a challenge!!!

  • Kbrad

    I’m ready to begin this challenge. I do not like planking but I know it’s quite effective.

  • Lucy Beasley

    I’m on day 7 now and my shakes have gone and have just done a 1 minute 49 seconds plank. It’s really working. I love it.

  • Failed day 15 today. Do I repeat the day or what? No shakes. My arms just give out.

  • ES

    Day 15th saying “side plank, repeat 5 times”. Is this 5 times per side? So would it be 15 intervals done that day?!
    I am day 9, doing well, but 15 intervals looks impossible…
    Who can help to understand please?

    • I think that’s what it means and I did find it impossible – too big a jump from day 14. Hope someone will chime in with a tip or two.

      • Jr

        It’s really hard but I just did it a couple days ago and my abs are feeling nice and sore still. Wait until the walking planks. At first I thought it’d be easy. Boy was I wrong.

  • Sammy Smith

    Starting today……need to do something today. At the point of no return.

  • luvdacritters

    Just found this and am starting today. I have a long ways to go – my arms started shaking before I was even at 10 seconds and I only made it to 30 seconds….

  • Mitchell Sivley

    After clicking on a link in this thread I feel like I know what each one is but the challenge still calls for holds on Spider-Man and walking and alternating hand planks. I’m on day 12 so I still have a couple days to figure it out!

  • lirantha

    So I finished this the other day and it’s been great! Any tips on how to build on this, though? I’d love a 30 day challenge part 2. 🙂 For now I’ve started repeating the last week, but adding 5 seconds on each day from where I ended with each type plank on the time before.

  • Thanks for the link, Megan.

  • jupitergirl

    Does anyone have any information on how to maintain the core once the challenge is over?

  • Super excited about the results I am seeing from this challenge! Take before and after pics if you are just starting this. I did and it was really excited to see the difference 30 days can make!

  • Shawn

    Two more “work” days left in the challenge before the final test. What do I do after the challenge? How to I continue to build or at least maintain my core going forward?

  • Angella Lightfoot Naasko

    Can anyone tell me where to find the actual challenge list of days? Im seeing nothing but an article on why you should do it..

  • Cynthia

    I don’t see the schedule???

  • Elidjon Grembi

    I’ve just started to attend a gym 4 time a week. Can I alter these plank exercise with the rest at gym?

  • Lawren

    Finished the 30 day plank challenge. Please post a schedule to continue!

  • How does one add planks to the exercise diary. They don’t come up in the Strength Training database, and I don’t see a way to manually add them except as Notes.

  • ctsmithiii

    Everyone reading this can do it! Start small and work your way up. I started planking out during TV commercials several years ago. First 30 seconds, then 60, then 90, then 120. I started a five minute plank routine that I thought would be impossible 6 months ago and am up to 10 minutes. Progress not perfection.

  • For the last 3 months or so, I have been doing a 2 minute plank…not sure if that is good or not but I really dont want to go longer than that…but I think it has really helped with making me stronger and helps in toning

  • Bobby

    Plank challenges are so good for your core! I’ve done a few over the years and they produce excellent results!

  • Mega _

    Sorry for bad english. Thx a lot. It is very interesting, not boring programm and effective. On the first day my time was 2:30 min, on last day 4:30 min. My posture became better. I will be grateful for advices what to do next.

  • Divya

    What do you do once you finish ?! I’m suddenly bereft of a plan.

  • Raguram

    What do you do after the 30 day challenge? And do we do if we fail in one of the days? Do we go back to day 1?

  • Linda N Michael Garcia

    What is good amount of time to hold the plank and side plank? I’m able to hold plank for 3 minutes and the side plank 1 minute per each side.

  • Shane Ramsey

    I just completed my last day of this. Any suggestions on how to start again? Going back to week 1 would be far too easy should I just pick a week and start there?

  • Elena Lisheva

    I really need to start exercises to help my back pain. Glad they are simple to start!

  • Mohd Monish

    I have less time to exercise out of my busy schedule,so I think this is the best way to get in shape.i am going to try this out

  • Ara dmon

    When it comes to the cardio plank is one of the great exercise which helps you to strengthen your core.
    And 30 days workout plank challenge gives you the perfect opportunity to work on your core muscles.
    This article is well balanced and well composed which gives you a proper knowledge about this plank exercise.

  • Aman Bansal

    What is the the difference between the walking plank and alternating hand plank.