It's week 2 of the LIVESTRONG.COM Plank Challenge, and by now you know that building killer abs doesn't require you to get a gym membership. All you need is some comfortable clothing and a space to plank out on — even if it's at the office.
Elise Joan will prove this to you by wearing chic office clothes while she demonstrates this week's seven plank variations that will tighten your core and help to build a stronger, healthier body.
Planking twice a day at work is especially good for those of you who sit all day, because strengthening your core can protect you from lower-back pain. Plus, you'll inspire those around you to join in! Get started by watching the video below:
Remember, if you're new to planking, hold each variation for just 30 seconds and work your way up to one or even two minutes. Here's a lineup of all the moves you'll be doing this week:
1. Side-to-Side Hip Drop Plank
HOW TO DO IT: Start in forearms plank. Then slowly and with control, drop your hips to one side so that they hover a few inches above the floor. But don't let your torso twist to much. Then bring your hips back to center before dropping them to the other side. Repeat for 30 seconds to two minutes.
2. Leg-Lift Plank
HOW TO DO IT: Begin in a forearm plank, and then lift one foot off the ground several inches. Hold 10 seconds before switching to the other side. If this aggravates your lower back, hold each foot for less time and give more time in between leg lifts. Continue alternating legs for the full 30 seconds to two minutes.
3. Knee-to-Shoulder Plank
HOW TO DO IT: Again, start in forearm plank. Now draw your right knee toward your right shoulder, crunching your obliques as you do. Repeat twice to one side, and then twice on the other. Keep switching off for the remainder of the 30 seconds to two minutes.
4. Side Plank
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a modified side plank by rolling over to one side and supporting you full body weight with your hand, your bottom knee and top foot. If you're feeling strong, lift your bottom knee off the floor so that both legs are extended out. Hold for 15 seconds to one minute before doing the same on the other side.
5. Side-Plank Curl
HOW TO DO IT: Start in either a full or modified side plank. Place your top hand behind your head, and then twist your top elbow toward your bottom hand, still keeping good form. Come back up and repeat for 15 seconds to one minute. Do the same on the other side.
6. Kneeling Plank
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a full plank with your arms extended straight, but drop to your knees. If this isn't challenging enough for you, raise one hand for 10 seconds, keeping your balance. Then switch arms. Repeat for the full 30 seconds to two minutes.
7. Slide-Plank Curl
HOW TO DO IT: Again, you can either begin in a full or modified side plank. Take your hand behind your head, and then crunch your obliques so that your top elbow comes down to meet your bent top knee. Straighten out, and then repeat for 15 seconds to one minute. Don't forget the other side!
Keep Challenging Yourself
By next week, you should be able to hold each of our seven core-crushing moves for at least one minute. Keep track of your progress with this print-out calendar.