What follows is a challenge that will have you gasping for air and holding your incredibly sore stomach.
If you’re not familiar with planks, they’re a traditionally isometric maneuver — meaning your body doesn’t move during the exercise. Now, just because you aren’t moving doesn’t mean you won’t be getting a great workout! This is going to build strength in your core as well as endurance. It’s going to take a lot out of you, but you’ll be glad you did it!
Now, just like the “Death by Push Ups” and “Death by Squats” test, you’ll be competing against other members of the Shot of Adrenaline community! Once you finish the test, you’ll have the chance to post your results right here and see where you stack up.
Why do this? Well, we’re big on workouts you get to do in the comfort of your own living room… or park… or hotel room… anywhere, really! One potential pitfall of that, however, is the temptation to take the easy way out. You know what we mean: doing 2 sets when you were really supposed to do 3… giving less than your full effort… maybe just skipping the workout altogether. Hey, it happens!
Working out in groups can eliminate these issues! In fact, a study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine found that people who work out in groups rather than by themselves can significantly improve both performance and motivation over time. So while we can’t gather everyone together in one place, we can create a fun challenge that holds us all accountable to give it our all! Ready?
You’ll be performing 4 different varieties of the plank. You’ll be timing yourself, holding each position with correct form for as long as you can, then moving on to the next exercise. The only “rest” you should be taking is to write down your time for each plank, because you’ll be adding it up at the end. Keep it to less than 10 seconds. Once you’ve finished, tally up your total number of seconds, and put it in the comments below!
For this challenge, our host and head coach, Paul, will be testing his core strength as well! See if you can keep up — and beat — his score!
MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD THE DEATH BY PLANK TEST TOOL TO LOG YOUR RESULTS AND MEASURE THEM AGAINST OTHER PEOPLE
1) Standard plank
Facing down, place your forearms on the ground directly underneath your chest (arms should be 6”-12” apart). Place your feet together and hold yourself up so that only your forearms and toes are touching the ground. Your back should be completely straight; make sure your butt is not in the air or dropped below your hips.
Paul’s score: 182 seconds
Tip: imagine someone placed a broomstick on your back. It should be touching the back of your head, your back and your butt. That’s how you know your body is straight and you are in full plank position.
2) Side plank (left side)
Turn your body from a full plank so that you’re holding yourself up on your left side. Your left forearm should be under your body and your right arm completely off the ground. The side of your left foot should be touching the ground with your right foot rested on top of it.
Make sure your hip isn’t dipping and your body is completely straight.
Paul’s score: 73 seconds
3) Side plank (right side)
Perform the same exercise, this time with your right forearm on the ground and the side of your right foot on the ground, with your left foot resting on top of it.
Paul’s score: 128 seconds
4) Rocking plank
This is the same position as the standard plank with a little twist: instead of staying as still as possible, you will be rocking back and forward using your feet. Keep your back straight and rock as long as you can with correct form.
Paul’s score: 76 seconds
All done! Now tally up your score and see how you did! Let’s see how our host fared:
Total planking time: 459 seconds
Where do you stack up in our Planking Pyramid of Power? Make sure to save this challenge and try it again and again. Your core will be stronger and more toned because of it!
Also, don’t forget to pass this on to your friends and challenge them. Bragging rights are on the line… good luck!
“Death by Plank” Pyramid of Power
>60 seconds = SHOOTING PLANKS: You’re new to the plank, eh? Keep working at it!
61-180 seconds = PLANK MONKEY: There’s some core strength there, no doubt. You can still improve, though!
181-400 seconds = NEW YORK PLANKEE: Your core could be one of the all-time greats. How do you look in pinstripes?
401-630 seconds = PLANK YOU VERY MUCH: Great work! You’ve clearly been beating up your core for quite some time.
631+ seconds = PLANK GENERAL: Oh captain, our captain… You’ve seen more planks than a pirate! We salute you and your uber-strong core.