Monthly Challenge for Runners: Planks

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here is this month's challenge for runners, planks! Monthly Challenge for Runners: Planks www.runnerclick.com

Welcome back to another monthly challenge for runners. This time we will focus all about that core. Why? As runners, we need a strong core to create a solid foundation, including abdominals, back muscles, stabilizers of the shoulders and hips. Without a strong foundation, we become susceptible to mechanical inefficiencies that can result in an injury. You may be familiar with plank challenges that aim to hold the position for as long as you can. In hindsight, this isn’t the best way to strengthen a runner’s core because at what point in the race is we ever stationary?

What makes this plank challenge different?

This monthly plank challenge will be different than that “typical” type of challenge as we will focus on the entire core starting with the basics and progressively adding dynamic movement to challenge stabilization during function! This is the ultimate core challenge package designed with athletes in mind. So, go ahead and start today as there is no need to wait until the start of next month to start making gains.

Give Me the Deets!

This challenge will have 4 weeks of exercises, 5 days a week with 2 rest days being your choice to adapt to your schedule. As with any exercise, our bodies need rest days to adapt and recover. Beginners try each exercise for 15-30 seconds for 1-3 reps (each side when necessary). Intermediate shoot for 30-60 seconds for 2-3 reps. Advanced try 60-90 seconds for 3-4 reps.

Week 1

Let’s begin easy and stationary, shall we?

Modified Plank

Forearm plank on knees

  • Start on knees and forearms
  • Lift thighs while squeezing glutes, abs and inner thighs together. This will help in keeping your back flat
  • Focus on maintaining a neutral neck and draw shoulders away from your ears, all while breathing

 

 

 

Modified Side Plank

Modified Side Plank

  • Start on a side with knee bent on the ground and bottom arm extended under the shoulder
  • Squeeze glutes and lift the bottom hip off the ground
  • Extend the top arm and top leg straight, lengthening top sidelong
  • Hold while engaging glutes, abs, and inner thighs
  • Repeat on another side

 

 

Low Plank

Low Forearm Plank

  • Start on knees and forearms
  • Lift thighs and knees to a straight line off the ground while squeezing glutes, abs, and inner thighs to help with flattening the back
  • Keep the neck in neutral and draw shoulders down away from ears, all while breathing

 

 

High Plank

High Plank

  • Start on knees and hands with arms straight under shoulders
  • Lift thighs and knees to a straight line off the ground while squeezing glutes, abs, and inner thighs to flatten your back
  • Maintain a neutral neck and draw shoulders away from your ears while pushing arms up and away from the ground

 

Week 2

Now that you have the basics, it is time to get moving!

Low Plank to Dolphin

Low Plank to Dolphin

  • Start in a low forearm plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Push the weight back towards the feet to hike the hips up to the sky
  • Return back to low plank and repeat back and forth

 

 

 

Hip Dips

Forearm Hip Dips

  • Start in a low forearm plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Pivot on toes and turn to drop right hip towards the ground while maintaining neutral shoulders
  • Return to center and repeat to the left side, alternating sides

 

 

Low Plank to High Plank

Low Plank to High Plank

  • Start in a low forearm plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Place the hand of the right arm under the shoulder to push up followed by the left to get you into high plank
  • Return back to right forearm followed by the left to get back into a forearm plank
  • Repeat up and down switching lead arm halfway through

 

Rotating Forearm Side Plank

Rotating Forearm to Side Plank

  • Start in a low forearm plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Now, place one forearm in front of the other, parallel to each other under the chest
  • Keeping trunk tight begin to shift weight to the left arm and rotate into a low side plank, extending the top arm up to the sky
  • Return back to low plank and switch weight to the right into a side plank
  • Repeat alternating sides

 

High Plank with Toe Tap

High Plank with a Toe Tap

  • Begin in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Slowly lift and extend left leg up to tap the right heel of planted foot
  • Return to high plank and repeat, alternating sides

 

 

 

Week 3

How are you feeling? Halfway there and we are just getting started with the dynamic movement. This week will start to challenge your balance too.

High Plank Walk

High Plank Walk

  • Begin in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Start with moving left arm and left leg out to the side simultaneously, followed by the right arm and right leg
  • Repeat for a total of 3 walks and then switch direction

 

 

High Plank with Oblique Crunch

High Plank to Oblique Crunch

  • Start in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from the ears and breathe
  • Begin to bend knees underbody and towards the left side while extending arms straight overhead
  • Pop back into a high plank
  • Repeat on the other side, and repeat alternating sides

 

 

High Plank Jacks

High Plank Jacks

  • Begin in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Jump your feet out wider than hips, maintaining a flat back
  • Jump back to high plank
  • Repeat

 

 

High Plank Shoulder Taps

High Plank Shoulder Taps

  • Begin in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Start with the left hand and tap the right shoulder keeping a neutral pelvis
  • Repeat with the right hand to left and continue alternating sides

 

 

 

High Plank with Opposite Alternating Arm/Leg Lift

High Plank Alternating Opposite Arm/Leg Lift

  • Begin in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Lift the right arm next to the right ear and the left leg simultaneously, keeping a neutral pelvis
  • Bring back to the high plank
  • Repeat with the left arm and the right leg

 

 

Week 4

Feeling strong yet? You are so close to the finish, don’t give up yet!

Down Dog to Side Plank

Down Dog to Side Plank

  • Begin in a high plank with glutes, abs and inner thighs engaged and draw shoulders down away from ears and breathe
  • Begin to hike the hips up towards the sky, trying to keep the arms and legs straight and heels closest to the ground as possible
  • As you lower back to the high plank, pivot both feet to the right, staggering or stacking feet, to turn into a side plank
  • Return back to down dog and repeat to the other side

 

Side Plank with Crunch

Side Plank with Crunch

  • Start on one side, plank hand of arm closest to floor under shoulder and stack feet while lifting bottom hip up from the ground by squeezing glutes, abs and inner thighs
  • Avoid letting hip sag or shoulder to compress to ear
  • Bring top hand behind head then crunch top knee to the elbow

 

 

Side Plank with Twist

Side Plank Twist

  • Start on one side on an elbow, stack feet, lift hips and engage glutes, abs and inner thighs
  • Bring the top hand behind head and rotate trunk to bring the top elbow to the bottom hand
  • Return back to the side plank

 

 

Side Plank Kick

Side Plank with Kick

  • Start on one side, plank hand of arm closest to floor under shoulder and stack feet while lifting bottom hip up from the ground by squeezing glutes, abs and inner thighs
  • Lift the top leg up off from the bottom and extend top arm overhead next to the ear
  • Swing the top leg in front to hip height and drop the top arm to reach to tap the toes of the top leg
  • Return to neutral and repeat

 

Reverse Plank

Reverse Plank

  • Start on your bottom with hands behind you and under your shoulders with legs extended
  • Squeeze glutes, abs and inner thighs to lift your bottom off the floor
  • Avoid low back arching and hold
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