This 30-Day Plank Challenge Will Strengthen Your Entire Core

The plank exercise may not look too Insta-worthy, but there’s a reason it’s a classic move: It offers countless benefits for your core. In fact, the plank targets your rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis muscles (re: all your core muscles) and helps you build the strength necessary to simply stand upright, support your spine during everyday movements, and prevent injury, especially back pain.

And that’s why Shape teamed up with Kira Stokes, creator of The Stoked Method, to create this 30-day plank challenge. Along with classic forearm and high planks, you’ll also tackle push-ups, which are essentially moving planks, as well as other dynamic variations. Each day of the 30-day plank challenge, you’ll try a plank exercise that builds upon the last and at the end of each week, you’ll do a plank flow that combines a few of those moves.

Ready to get started? Read the instructions below, then scroll down to Day 1 to follow along with Stokes as she demonstrates the exercise of the day. Keep coming back to the 30-day plank challenge each day to build a strong core. (And before getting started, check out why the plank is still the best core exercise — plus how to do one with perfect form.)

How it works: Each day, you’ll do 3 sets of a plank exercise for the suggested reps or time. At the end of each week, you’ll put those moves together for a plank challenge flow that works your strength and endurance.

What you’ll need: two small towels

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Day 1: Forearm Plank

Day 1 Plank Challenge: Forearm Plank (Low Plank)

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Hold for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 2: Forearm Side Plank

Day 2 Plank Challenge: Forearm Side Plank

A. Lie on right side of body, right elbow resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. 

B. Engage core, ground through right elbow and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Hold for 45 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 3: High Plank

Day 3 Plank Challenge: Plank Hold

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Hold for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets. 

Day 4: High Side Plank

Day 4 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank

A. Lie on right side of body, right hand resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. 

B. Engage core, ground through right hand and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Hold for 45 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 5: Forearm Plank with Knee Tap

Day 5 Plank Challenge: Low Plank with Knee Taps

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. While holding the plank position, tap right knee to floor, then left. Repeat.

Continue alternating for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 6: High Plank with Shoulder Tap

Day 6 Plank Challenge: High Plank Shoulder Taps

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping hips square, lift right hand off the floor and tap left shoulder. Lower right hand to the floor, then lift left hand and tap right shoulder. Repeat.

Continue alternating for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 7: Plank Up-Down

Day 7 Plank Challenge: Plank Up-Downs

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping hips square, lower right elbow to the floor, then left elbow, to come into a forearm plank. Place right hand under right shoulder, then left hand under left shoulder to return to a high plank. 

D. Repeat the plank up-down with the left side leading, lowering left elbow to the floor, then right elbow, to come into a forearm plank. Place left hand under left shoulder, then right hand under right shoulder to return to a high plank. 

Continue alternating for 60 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 8: Plank Challenge Flow

Day 5 Plank Challenge: Low Plank with Knee Taps

Day 6 Plank Challenge: High Plank Shoulder Taps

Left: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Right: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Forearm Plank with Knee Tap

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. While holding the forearm plank position, tap right knee to floor, then left.

High Plank with Shoulder Tap

D. Place right hand under right shoulder, then left hand under left shoulder to come into a high plank.

E. Keeping hips square, lift right hand off the floor and tap left shoulder. Lower right hand to the floor, then lift left hand and tap right shoulder.

F. Keeping hips square, lower right elbow to the floor, then left elbow, to return to a forearm plank. Do two knee taps, then return to high plank.

Continue for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets of the flow.

Day 9: Triceps Push-Up

Day 9 Plank Challenge: Basic Triceps Push-Up

A. Start in a high plank position with hands directly underneath shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads.

C. With elbows hugging rib cage, slowly lower body and stop 3 inches above the floor. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring body forms a straight line from head to knees.

D. Hold for 2 seconds, then quickly push back up to the starting position.

Do 8 to 10 reps (10 to 12 if on knees). Do 3 sets.

Day 10: Forearm Plank with Hip Dip

Day 10 Plank Challenge: Low Plank with Hip Dips

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Rotate hips to the right and dip them about three inches from the floor. Then, rotate hips to the left and dip about three inches from the floor.

Continue alternating for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 11: Plank Jack

Day 11 Plank Challenge: Plank Jacks

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Hop feet out wider than hip-width apart without allowing butt to pop up above height of shoulders. Then, quickly hop feet back to hip-width.

Continue for 60 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 12: Forearm Side Plank with Hip Dip

Day 12 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank with Hip Dips

A. Lie on right side of body, right elbow resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. 

B. Engage core, ground through right elbow and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Drive hips toward the ceiling, then dip right hip toward the floor. That’s one rep.

Continue for 60 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Day 13: High Plank with Knee to Opposite Elbow

Day 13 Plank Challenge: High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Bring right knee up to meet left elbow, hold for three seconds, then return right foot to the floor.

D. Bring left knee up to meet right elbow, hold for three seconds, then return left foot to the floor.

Continue alternating for 60 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 14: Forearm Plank with Knee to Elbow

Day 14 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping hips square, bring right knee to outside of right elbow, hold for three seconds, then return right foot to the floor.

D. Keeping hips square, bring left knee to outside of left elbow, hold for three seconds, then return left foot to the floor.

Continue alternating for 60 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 15: Plank Challenge Flow

Left: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Center: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Right: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Plank Up-Down

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping hips square, lower right elbow to the floor, then left elbow, to come into a forearm plank. Place right hand under right shoulder, then left hand under left shoulder to return to a high plank. 

D. Repeat the plank up-down with the left side leading, lowering left elbow to the floor, then right elbow, to come into a forearm plank. Place left hand under left shoulder, then right hand under right shoulder to return to a high plank. 

High Plank with Knee to Opposite Elbow

E. Holding the high plank, bring right knee up to meet left elbow, hold for three seconds, then return right foot to the floor.

F. Bring left knee up to meet right elbow, hold for three seconds, then return left foot to the floor.

Plank Jack

G. Holding the high plank, hop feet out wider than hip-width apart without allowing butt to pop up above height of shoulders. Then, quickly hop feet back to hip-width. Do 5 reps.

Day 16: Wide-Grip Push-Up

Day 16 Plank Challenge: Standard Wide Grip Push-Up

A. Start in a high plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads. Push elbows out so arms form a 90-degree angle to body.

C. Look down to keep neck neutral and slowly lower body, stopping 3 inches above the floor. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring body forms a straight line from head to toe.

D. Quickly push back up to the starting position.

Do 12 to 15 reps. Do 3 sets.

Day 17: Crouching Panther Plank

Day 17 Plank Challenge: Crouching Panther Plank

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Maintaining a flat back, lift knees 2 inches above the floor.

Hold for 75 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 18: Forearm Side Plank with Rotation and Leg Lift

Day 18 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank, Rotate, and Leg Lift

A. Lie on right side of body, right elbow resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. Place left hand behind head.

B. Engage core, ground through right elbow and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, maintaining a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping hips high off the floor, rotate left elbow toward right hand on the floor. Reverse the movement and bring left below back to the starting position.

D. Lift left leg up off of right leg into the air with control. Slowly lower left leg back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Continue for 45 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 19: High Plank Reach

Day 19 Plank Challenge: High Plank Reach

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

C. Walk hands as far forward as possible, drawing navel in and squeezing butt.

Hold for 45 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 20: High Side Plank with Hip Dip and Leg Lift

Day 20 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank/Hip Dip/Leg Lift

A. Lie on right side of body, right hand resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. 

B. Engage core, ground through right hand and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Dip right hip down about 10 inches, then lift hips back up to a side plank.

D. Lift left leg up off of right leg into the air with control. Slowly lower left leg back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Continue for 45 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 21: Moving Lateral Panther Plank

Day 21 Plank Challenge: Moving Lateral Panther Plank

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Maintaining a flat back, lift knees 2 inches above the floor.

B. Holding this position, move right hand and right foot a few inches to the right on the floor. Then, move left hand and left foot a few inches to the right on the floor so hands are stacked directly under shoulders and knees are bent and stacked directly under hips.

C. Continue moving right for 15 seconds. Then, repeat the process on left side to move to the left for 15 seconds.

Continue for 75 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 22: Plank Challenge Flow

Day 12 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank with Hip Dips

Day 18 Plank Challenge: Low Side Plank, Rotate, and Leg Lift

Left: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Right: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Forearm Side Plank with Hip Dip

A. Lie on right side of body, right elbow resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. 

B. Engage core, ground through right elbow and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Drive hips toward the ceiling, then dip right hip toward the floor. Do 2 reps.

Forearm Side Plank with Leg Lift and Rotation

D. Holding the forearm side plank, lift left leg up off of right leg into the air with control. Slowly lower left leg back to the starting position. Do 2 reps.

E. Holding the forearm side plank and keeping hips high off the floor, rotate left elbow toward right hand on the floor. Reverse the movement and bring left below back to the starting position. Do 2 reps.

Do 3 sets of the flow. Switch sides; repeat.

Day 23: Triceps Push-Up with Rotation

Day 23 Plank Challenge: Triceps Push-Up with Rotation

A. Start in a high plank position with hands directly underneath shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads. This is the starting position.

C. With elbows hugging rib cage, slowly lower body and stop 3 inches above the floor into a triceps push-up. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring body forms a straight line from head to knees.

D. Hold for 2 seconds, then quickly push back up to the starting position.

E. Lift left hand off the floor and extend left arm to the ceiling, opening chest to the left. Return left hand to the floor. That’s one rep.

Do 8 to 10 reps, alternating sides. Do 3 sets.

Day 24: Towel Plank Rows

Day 24 Plank Challenge: Towel Plank Rows

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet resting on a towel hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping core engaged, push into forearms and extend elbows to glide body back. Then, push into forearms and flex elbows to glide body forward, shifting shoulders over wrists.

Continue shifting forward and back for 60 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 25: High Side Plank with Thread and Leg Lift

Day 25 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank Thread/Leg Lift

A. Lie on right side of body, right hand resting on the floor in line with right shoulder, both legs extended out to left side, and feet stacked. 

B. Engage core, ground through right hand and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Holding the side plank, thread left arm underneath right side of body, then reverse the movement and raise left arm toward the ceiling.

D. Lift left leg up off of right leg into the air with control. Slowly lower left leg back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Continue for 60 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 26: Forearm Plank with Towel Army Crawls

Day 26 Plank Challenge: Towel Plank Army Crawls

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet resting on a towel hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping core engaged, crawl forward on elbows, taking about eight “steps” with each elbow. Then, crawl backward, taking about eight “steps” with each elbow.

Continue for 60 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Day 27: High Side Plank with Crunch and Toe Tap

Day 27 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank/Crunch/Toe Tap

A. Lie on right side of body, right hand resting on the floor in line with right shoulder and both legs extended out to left side. Place right foot on floor slightly in front of left and place left hand behind head.

B. Engage core, ground through right hand and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, simultaneously raising left arm toward the ceiling. Gaze toward left hand and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Pull right knee into chest while crunching so right knee meets left elbow. Reverse the movement to return right foot to the floor.

D. From the side plank, lift left foot off the floor and tap it in front of right foot, then return left foot back behind right foot. That’s one rep.

Continue for 60 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 28: High Plank with One-Legged Towel Pull

Day 28 Plank Challenge: Towel One-Legged High Plank Pull

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Toes of right foot should be resting on a towel.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Pull left knee into chest and, using core, keep left knee locked in tight while dragging right knee into chest. Pause, then extend right leg to back to tehs starting position, keeping left knee tucked to chest the entire time.

Continue for 45 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets.

Day 29: Plank Challenge Flow

Day 3 Plank Challenge: Plank Hold

Day 11 Plank Challenge: Plank Jacks

Left: Credit: PETER ARDITO

Right: Credit: PETER ARDITO

High Plank with Towel Steps

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart on top of two towels.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position.

C. Keeping core engaged and maintaining the high plank, walk hands forward, taking four “steps.”

Plank Jack with Towel

D. Holding the high plank, spread feet out wider than hip-width apart, then quickly slide feet back to hip-width. Do 5 reps.

E. Keeping core engaged and maintaining the high plank, walk hands backward, taking four “steps.” That’s one set.

Continue the flow for 60 seconds.

Day 30: Crouching Tiger Push-Up

Day 30 Plank Challenge: Crouching Tiger Push-Ups

A. Start in a high plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads. Push elbows out so arms form a 90-degree angle to body.

C. Look down to keep neck neutral and slowly lower body, stopping 3 inches above the floor. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring body forms a straight line from head to toe.

D. While holding a push-up position, bend knees and shift hips back so knees are hovering 2 inches off floor and arms are extended.

E. Straighten knees and lift hips up into downward dog position. Then tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll back into plank position. That’s one rep.

Do 10 to 12 reps. Do 3 sets.

The Ultimate 30-Day Plank Challenge for Your Strongest Core Ever

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