We are stronger together … so let’s plank together!
I’ve launched a new series of short fitness challenges for anyone out there in lockdown, self-quarantine, imposed-quarantine, socially-distanced apartment living, hiding from kids / partner / boss / pets / Zoom conference participants, etc. These challenges are designed to get you moving throughout the day and to foster more connection and a stronger sense of virtual community. Whether this is your only fitness activity during these days or just a side challenge on top of a robust training program you’re following, I encourage you to join my challenges and share some support for others along the way.
Each challenge is five days or shorter in duration, with different levels offered to suit a diverse group of participants. Each challenge also has a send-some-good-vibes focus — a suggested group of people we think of and send energy to while doing the challenge. In case you missed, check out the 5-day Air Squat Challenge, which you can start any time.
Next up: planks!
4-Day Plank Challenge
How many minutes can you plank in 4 days?
The minimum level to successfully complete this challenge is to hold a plank position for at least 8 minutes across 4 days. That’s 2 minutes a day for 4 days, broken into as many sets as you need.
Want a bigger challenge? Beast level is 15min and Firebreather is 30min. There are many ways to tackle this one. My two favorites are 1) plank early in the morning and quickly knock out your daily goal all at once and 2) set reminder alarms on your phone and do short planks every 1-2 hours to break up your day. That’s especially helpful if you are going for the 15min or 30min levels or just want to be forced to squeeze in some fitness while working from home.
You may plank on your elbows, with locked out arms, or with any side plank variations. Make sure you keep your shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line.
Send some vibes!
While you are holding your plank, perhaps think about and send some good vibes to all the kind people out there volunteering to help others in their community with shopping, picking up prescriptions, taking care of kids.
Have fun with it!
For this 4-day plank challenge, you can make all kinds of variations to add variety and fun. Recruit your family, whoever you are hunkering down with, or the folks you can see having breakfast on the balcony across from yours. Make it a TikTok video, do hand claps with a workout buddy, or plank remotely together via a video app.
It’s all in your mind
Try integrating some deep breathing as well while in the plank. Take a deep breath in, visualizing that the new air is collective energy from everyone doing this challenge and everyone you care about. When you breathe out, visualize you are sending power and energy out to anyone who needs it.
Holding a plank for a long time is largely a mind game. Tell your mind you are strong and you will be strong. If your mind wants to tell you to quit before your goal time is up, repeat a mantra “I am strong. I am strong. I AM STRONG.” and you will win more time.
To put things into perspective, while 2 minutes a day may seem like a LONG time to plank, or 1min or even 30 seconds — here are the latest plank world records!
How to Join
Just ask to join this closed Facebook Group — for support and accountability. The support group on Facebook brings friendly and supportive people together from around the world. Once you’re in, feel free to add any friends who want to join. It’s not required that you post on the group, or even join it in the first place. It’s more fun and motivational in a community though! By the way, this whole thing is FREE — just good people coming together to support each other. You can start this challenge ANY DAY you want. The best day though is TODAY!
Helpful Tools & Ideas
Reminder and Accountability Apps: I use the iPhone app called Productive to remind me and keep accountable during our challenges. There are others as well. These apps are excellent for accountability. Here’s a helpful video on air squat technique:
May I join late? What is the deadline? You may join any time you want. How do I join if I’m not on Facebook? Just say I’m in out loud 3 times, and you’ll be in! If you want to connect the dots and receive a virtual high-five, feel free to also drop me a note at [email protected] or say hi on other social media channels (links in footer). May I join the challenge, but start my own Facebook group for my gym, club, friends or community? Sure. I’d love to see you in the global group, so how about both? I hope you join us!
Stay fit, stay strong for yourself and those you love. We’re going to get through this together, starting with these 4 days of planks!
— Coach Jeff
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.