Plank Challenge Week 2: 7 Plank Variations to Save You From Sitting All Day

You know sitting all day isn't your healthiest option. But it's not always feasible to take a mid-day workout break.

Instead, take a plank break. You won't even need to change out of your work clothes — or your work sweatpants, if you're rocking the telecommuting uniform these days.

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To prove how simple it is to squeeze in a plank just about anywhere, Elise Joan, yoga teacher and creator of Barre Blend, demonstrates a new set of plank variations for Week 2 of the 4-Week Plank Challenge in chic (but functional) workwear in the video above.

That's an especially smart plan for anyone spending time behind a desk. Planking will help strengthen your core, which doesn't see a lot of action in your office chair. Plus, stabilization exercises like planks can help improve low-back pain, according to a January 2017 meta-analysis in ​Physical Therapy in Sport​.

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Remember, each day you'll do 2 sets of a different plank variation. Hold each plank for 30 seconds, or if you're new to planking, you can start with 10 to 15 seconds. And you always have the option to drop to your knees or perform your planks on an incline with your hands on a step, bench or countertop to make things easier. Or, if you're a bit stronger, you can hold each plank for 1 to 2 minutes.

Keep scrolling for step-by-step instructions for each plank variation you'll do this week.

Challenge Day 8: Side-to-Side Hip-Drop Plank

Challenge Day 8: Side-to-Side Hip-Drop Plank
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Intermediate
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start in a forearm plank.
  2. Slowly and with control, drop your hips to one side so that they hover a few inches above the floor.
  3. Bring your hips back to center, then drop them to the other side.
  4. Continue alternating sides for 30 seconds.

Challenge Day 9: Leg-Lift Plank

Challenge Day 9: Leg-Lift Plank
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Intermediate
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Begin in a forearm plank.
  2. Lift one foot off the ground several inches.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  4. Lift the other foot off the ground several inches and hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Continue alternating legs for 30 seconds.

Tip

If this aggravates your lower back, raise each foot for just a few seconds at a time and give yourself a longer break between lifts.

Challenge Day 10: Knee-to-Shoulder Plank

Challenge Day 10: Knee-to-Shoulder Plank
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Intermediate
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start in a forearm plank.
  2. Draw your right knee toward your right shoulder, crunching your obliques as you do.
  3. Repeat twice on one side, then twice on the other.
  4. Keep switching off for the remainder of the 30 seconds.

Challenge Day 11: Side Plank

Challenge Day 11: Side Plank
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Beginner
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start lying on one side.
  2. Press your bottom hand into the floor and press up into a modified side plank, supporting your full body weight with your hand, your bottom knee and top foot.
  3. If you're feeling strong, lift your bottom knee off the floor so that both legs are extended.
  4. Hold for 15 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Challenge Day 12: Side-Plank Curl

Challenge Day 12: Side-Plank Curl
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Intermediate
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start in either a full or modified side plank.
  2. Place your top hand behind your head.
  3. Twist your top elbow toward your bottom hand without caving in toward the floor or rounding your upper back. The movement should come from your torso, not your arms or hips.
  4. Lift back up, then keep twisting for 15 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Challenge Day 13: Kneeling Plank

Challenge Day 13: Kneeling Plank
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Beginner
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Start on all fours, hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Walk your hands forward so that you're in a modified straight-arm plank with your body in a straight line from head to knees.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.

Tip

For an extra challenge, lift one hand for 10 seconds, then switch arms.

Challenge Day 14: Side-Plank Crunch

Challenge Day 14: Side-Plank Crunch
Image Credit: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.com
Skill Level Intermediate
Time 30 Sec
Region Core
  1. Begin in either a full or modified side plank.
  2. Place your top hand behind your head.
  3. Bend your top knee and crunch your obliques, bending to bring your top elbow to meet your knee.
  4. Straighten out, then keep crunching for 15 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Ready for More?

Learn your next seven core-crushing plank variations in Week 3 of the 4-Week Plank Challenge.

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