Stopwatch Plank Challenge

Stopwatch Plank Challenge

This workout will hit the arms, core, and even the lower body. Warmup for 5-10 minutes with a brisk walk or jog. You can also add this short plank challenge to the end of a cardio workout. You will need a mat and while you can count, as you get more advanced, a stopwatch can come in handy. Make sure your form is impeccable and level adjusted according to your strength. Breathe.

Long Arm Plank

Bring hands below shoulders and straighten arms. Keep hips in a neutral position and extend legs with toes tucked under. Pulse at elbows 15 times; hold for 15 seconds.

Make it Easier: Bring knees down and decrease duration.

Make it Harder: Pulse elbows for 30 times then hold for 30 seconds.

Troubleshoot: Do not let head or back sag. Drop knees if his happens. Don’t overextend in elbows. If you tend to lock out and rely on your joints in this, micro bend the elbows and decrease duration. Also, make sure you are not on the tops of the toes. Bend toe flexors and keep weight on the balls of the feet. If your calves are tight, this could be an inhibitor. 

Forearm Plank

Bring elbows shoulders and clasp fists. Tuck toes under and extend legs keeping hips in a parallel position. Hold for 30 seconds.

Make it Easier: Bring knees down and/or decrease duration.

Make it Harder: Move forward and back with shimmy like movements for 30 seconds and then hold strongly for 30 seconds.

Troubleshoot: Watch sagging through neck and back. If you cannot hold the plank strongly and with a neutral spine, bring knees down.

Side Forearm Plank

Bring bottom arm directly below the shoulder with forearm facing forward. Place top hand on hip and top leg in front of bottom leg to create a nice stable base. Lift hips up 15 times without letting them drop too much then hold for 15 seconds.

Make it Easier: Bring bottom leg down to mat.

Make it Harder: Stack legs, increase pulses to 30 and then hold for 30 seconds.

Troubleshoot: Do not let the elbow move out of line with the shoulder. Modify by bringing the bottom leg down if you feel any strain in the neck. To see a video breakdown of the proper form for this move click HERE.

Reverse Plank Pulses

Facing up, bring legs together and then turn them out from the thighs as shown in the image. Bring hands below with thumbs facing feet and heels of hands under shoulders. Lift hips up and keep head in line with spine. Pulse the arms up to 15 times and then hold for 15 seconds.

Make it Easier: Keep legs parallel and bend knees so that heels are directly underneath into a tabletop position.

Make it Harder: Increase pulses to 30 and hold for 30 counts.

Troubleshoot: This exercise is challenging even if you’re strong, especially if you have tightness in the chest, shoulders or hip flexors. Modify if you need to. Also, avoid locking the elbows out at the top of the move to protect elbow joints. 

BONUS! How to Modify a T-Stand:

Modified T Stand

Bring bottom arm almost directly below but just a tiny bit ahead of the shoulder as shown in the image with the thumb facing forward. Instead of stacking legs bring top leg in front of bottom leg, keep bottom, or base, leg down into the floor to take some of the weight out of this exercise. Build from there. Over time, it’s likely you will be able to extend both legs, stack them, or even lift the bottom leg up into the air. But it does take time so listen to your body and have fun with this move. It can work your shoulders, lats, obliques, and glutes as well as inner thighs!


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