Getting a stronger core won't happen overnight, but being consistent with your training and doing ab-strengthening exercises will have you reaping the benefits in your core and will improve your overall performance. Whether you want to run faster, lift heavier weights, or prevent and reduce aches like back pain, a great place to start is by working on your core.
"For the most part, planks strengthen your core muscles, including your transverse abdominis (your deep core muscles), rectus abdominis (the "six-pack" muscles), and obliques (located on your sides from your hips to your rib cage)," Kelsey Wells, NASM-certified, Sweat app trainer, and creator of the PWR and PWR at Home programs, told POPSUGAR. Additionally, because your entire body is working as you hold yourself up, you'll find that your arms, glutes, and quadriceps will also be working.
Kelsey Wells's Three-Week Plank Challenge
This three-week PWR at Home Plank Challenge incorporates four plank variations, in addition to three high-intensity moves that will challenge your core strength, core stability, and aerobic ability, according to Wells. Perform this challenge at least once a week, and if you want to challenge yourself, Wells said to do it two to three times a week.
Each week, the work-to-rest ratio will increase. For example, during week one, you will complete all the exercises listed for 30 seconds total. For week two, you will complete all the exercises listed for a total of 45 seconds. And during week three, you will complete all the exercises listed for 60 seconds. If any of the movements are too advanced, feel free to modify them, holding a plank on your knees or a side bridge, for example, or decreasing the time you perform each move.
Before getting started, make sure to warm up your muscles with three to five minutes of cardio, such as jogging in place or skipping, Wells said. After doing light cardio, continue to warm up with some dynamic stretches to improve your range of motion and prevent injury. This workout should be performed as a circuit, meaning you should perform all six exercises back-to-back, taking little to no rest. After you've completed each move, take the designated rest (30 seconds in week one, 45 seconds in week two, and 60 seconds in week three) and then repeat another round, completing a total of two rounds. Be sure to take a few minutes to cool down and stretch once you've completed the workout, Wells advised.
|Exercise||Week 1 Exercise Duration||Week 2 Exercise Duration||Week 3 Exercise Duration|
|Plank||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|
|High Knees||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|
|Plank With a Shoulder Tap||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|
|Burpee||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|
|In and Out Plank
||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|
|Sprawl||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|
|Side Plank||30 seconds (15 seconds on each side)||45 seconds (22.5 seconds on each side)||60 seconds (30 seconds on each side)|
|Rest||30 seconds||45 seconds||60 seconds|