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The Ultimate 30-Day Plank Challenge for Your Strongest Core Ever

We teamed up with Fitness Magazine and Kira Stokes, creator of The Stoked Method, to bring you the Ultimate Plank Challenge. You won't find any "hold a plank for 30 seconds" business here. We're talking moves that challenge and sculpt like never before. And none of 'em are done in vain (yes, even if your goal is to look awesome in a bikini). Each day builds upon the last, leading to new challenges at the end of each week. Think: Planks with purpose. Follow along and get ready to reveal abs that wow. Don't forget to share your progress on Instagram and Twitter using #ShapePlank30.

How it works: you'll learn a new twist on the plank daily. Plus, at the end of each week, you'll put those moves together for a flow that works your strength and endurance.

The Ultimate 30-Day Plank Challenge for Your Strongest Core Ever

Day 1

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Forearm Plank (Low Plank)

Place elbows directly beneath your shoulders, legs extended. Press through your heels so calves are lengthened. Draw your navel toward your spine and engage your glutes. 

Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 2

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Forearm Side Plank

Start in basic low plank. Make fists with both hands and rotate your right fist into your left elbow to transition into a right side plank. Extend your left arm to the ceiling. Hold the right side plank for 45 seconds then pass through basic plank and rotate your left fist into your right elbow to transition into a left side plank.

Hold a left side plank for 45 seconds; do three sets (one set constitutes both sides).

Form Tip: Remember to keep your glutes engaged and navel toward your spine. Drive your hips toward the ceiling and stack your feet to keep your hips square.

Day 3

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Extended Arm Plank (High Plank)

Place your wrists directly under your shoulders, using the same form tips as a low plank.

Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 4

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High Side Plank

Start in  basic  high plank. Walk your right hand to the midline of your body and roll onto the outside edge of your right foot. Stack your feet, drive your hips to the ceiling and extend your left arm to the ceiling.

Hold for 45 seconds, then pass through basic high plank and repeat  of  the left side. Do three sets (one set constitutes both sides).

Day 5

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Low Plank with Knee Taps

Assume low plank position. Alternate knee taps to the floor, focusing more on your low abdomen.

Continue alternating for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 6

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High Plank Shoulder Taps

Assume a high plank position. Keeping your hips square, working hard not to let them sway side to side, lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder, then your left hand to tap your right shoulder.

Continue alternating for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 7

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Plank Up-Downs

Start in a low plank. Maintaining square hips, place your right hand under your right shoulder, then left hand under your left shoulder, then proceed to lower back down to your right elbow, then your left elbow.

Continue alternating the hand you come up with first for 60 seconds. Do three sets.

Day 8

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Nail the Basics

Start in a forearm plank. Do two knee taps, one with each knee. Transition to a high plank. Tap each hand to its opposite shoulder. Return to forearm plank.

Repeat for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 9

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Basic Triceps Push-Up

Starting in a high plank, rotate the crease of your elbows forward; shift your shoulders over your wrists slightly. With your elbows hugging your rib cage, slowly lower your body until your shoulders are even with your elbows. Hold for two seconds, then return to your start position.

Do eight to 10 reps (10 to 12 if on knees); do three sets.

Note: Push-ups are a moving plank, so as your core strength improves from working on plank variations, so will your push-ups. It's important to draw your navel toward your spine and engage your glutes, just as you do while performing planks.

Day 10

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Low Plank with Hip Dips

Start in a low plank. Rotate your hips to the right as you dip them about three inches from the ground, then rotate them to the left and dip.

Alternate for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 11

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Plank Jacks

Start in  high  plank. Hop your feet out wider than hip-width without allowing your butt to pop up above the height of your shoulders, then quickly hop your feet back to hip-width.

Continue for 60 seconds; do three sets.

Day 12

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Low Side Plank with Hip Dips

Assume low plank position and transition into a right side plank. Drive your hips toward the ceiling, then dip your right hip toward the floor, then back to the start position. You should feel this strongly in your right side oblique.

Continue for 60 seconds, then repeat on the left side; do three sets.

Day 13

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High Plank Knee to Opposite Elbow

Assume a high plank position. Bring your right knee to your left elbow, hold for three seconds, then bring your left knee to your right elbow and hold for three seconds.

Keep alternating in this manner for 60 seconds; do three sets.

Day 14

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Low Side Plank Knee to Same Side Elbow

Assume a low plank position. Bring your right knee to the outside of your right elbow, maintaining square hips and shoulders, hold for three seconds, then bring your left knee to the outside of your left elbow, hold for three seconds.

Continue in this manner for 60 seconds. Do three sets.

Note: You should feel this strongly in your obliques and transverse abdominis.

Day 15

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Boost Your Heart Rate

Do two plank up-downs. Bring each knee to its opposite elbow.

Do 5 plank jacks. Do three sets.

Day 16

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Standard Wide Grip Push-Up

Walk your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, feet hip-width. Maintaining a strong core, bend your elbows to create a 90-degree angle biceps to forearms. Press back to your start position.

Do 12 to 15 reps; do three sets.

Day 17

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Crouching Panther Plank

Place your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Maintaining a flat back, lift your knees two inches off the ground.

Hold this position hovering off the floor for 75 seconds; do three sets.

Day 18

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Low Side Plank, Rotate, and Leg Lift

Assume a right side plank position with your feet stacked and your left hand behind your head. Keeping your hips high, rotate your left elbow to your right fist, then lift the left  leg off  the right with control.

Repeat this sequence for 45 seconds on the right, then do the same on the left. Do three sets.

Day 19

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High Plank Reach

Assume a high plank position. Walk your hands as far forward as you possibly can, drawing your navel in and squeezing your butt.

Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 20

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High Side Plank/Hip Dip/Leg Lift

Assume a high right side plank. Dip your right hip down about 10 inches, lift back up to a right side plank position and lift your left leg off your right with control.

Continue in this manner for 45 seconds, then repeat on the left side. Do three sets.

Day 21

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Moving Lateral Panther Plank

Assume panther plank position. Maintaining a flat back and keeping your knees two inches off the ground, move your body to the right by simultaneously moving your right hand and right foot to the right a few inches, then your left hand and your left foot to the right. Move right for 15 seconds, then move left the same way for 15 seconds.

Continue for 75 seconds; do three sets.

Day 22

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Step Up Your Side Plank

Start in a side plank on your right side. Dip your right hip toward the floor for two reps, then lift your left leg off your right for two reps. Rotate your left elbow to your right for two reps.

Do three sets on each side.

Day 23

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Triceps Push-Up with Rotation

Bring your feet slightly wider than hip-width and perform one triceps push-up. Find your balance and lift your right hand off the ground to extend your right arm to the sky and open your right side chest to the right. Return your hand to the floor, perform another triceps push-up, and repeat with the left arm.

Continue this movement pattern for eight to 10 reps; do three sets.

Day 24

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Towel Plank Rows

Start in a low plank with your toes on a towel. Maintaining a solid plank position, glide your body forward and back, shifting your shoulders over your wrists, then behind them.

Do this for 60 seconds; do three sets.

Day 25

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High Side Plank Thread/Leg Lift

Start in a high right side plank. Thread the left arm underneath your right side body, then lift your left leg off your right.

Continue this pattern for 60 seconds, then repeat on your left side. Do three sets each side.

Day 26

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Towel Plank Army Crawls

Start in a low plank with your toes on a towel. Maintaining a solid plank position, crawl forward on your elbows about eight "steps" each elbow, then crawl  backwards  about eight "steps" each elbow.

Continue in this manner for 60 seconds; do three sets.

Day 27

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High Side Plank/Crunch/Toe Tap

Start in a right side high plank with right foot slightly in front of your left and your left hand behind your head. Pull your right knee into your chest while you crunch your left elbow to meet your right knee. Once back to your start position lift your left foot off the ground to tap in front of your right foot, then back behind it.

Continue this sequence for 60 seconds, then repeat on the left; do three sets.

Day 28

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Towel One-Legged High Plank Pull

Start in a high plank with the toes of your right foot on a towel. Pull your left knee into your chest and using your core, keep your left knee locked in tight while you drag your right knee into your chest, then back out for 45 seconds. Repeat the same movement with the toes of your left foot on a towel, right knee to chest.

Do three sets.

Day 29

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Get a Move On

Start in a high plank with toes on a towel, gliders, or paper plates. Walk your hands forward four steps. Open your legs wider than hip-width to a straddle (similar to a plank jack) position, five times. Walk your hands back four steps.

Continue in this manner for 60 seconds.

Day 30

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Photo: Peter Ardito

Crouching Tiger Push-Ups

Begin in a standard wide grip push-up position. Bend your elbows to form a 90-degree angle between your biceps and forearms. At this point, do not come out of your push-up. Instead, bend your knees and press through your shoulders to glide your body back so your knees are beneath your hips. Straighten your legs to transition into a wide downward dog position. Lift high onto your toes and articulate your spine to perform a rolling wave back to your start position.

Do 10 to 12 reps; do three sets.

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