The 4-Week Plank Challenge: Week 3

Elise Joan demonstrating the Side Forearm Plank Curl
Get ready for seven brand new plank variations! (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

During week 3 of the LIVESTRONG.COM Plank Challenge, we’re ditching sit-ups and crunches to give you seven toning plank variations that’ll work more muscle groups and burn more calories. By this point in the challenge, you should be challenging yourself to hold each variation for at least a minute.

Plank twice a day to strengthen your core, enhance your posture and get rid of lower back pain. You’ve made it more than halfway through the challenge, so get amped with these ab-shredding moves:

Remember to hold each variation for at least a minute! (Or two if you're an overachiever.) The longer you hold, the better your workout. Just make sure you keep proper form the entire time. Here’s a line-up of all the moves you'll be doing this week:

Elise Joan demonstrating the Classic Plank + Leg Lift
Take the classic plank and add a leg lift. (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

1. Classic Plank + Leg Lift

HOW TO DO IT: Start in a full plank (like the top of a push-up), and then lift your foot a few inches off the floor for five seconds. Then set that foot down and pick up the other foot. Hold that foot for five seconds. Keep alternating for the full minute.

Elise Joan demonstrating the Plank + Hamstring Lift
Now take that plank and add hamstring lifts. (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

2. Plank + Hamstring Lift

HOW TO DO IT: Begin at the top of a push-up position. Bend one leg at the knee and pulse the foot up to the ceiling 10 times. Lower that leg and repeat on the other side for another 10 lifts. Alternate legs for the full minute.

Elise Joan demonstrating the Side Forearm Plank
Lower your side plank to your forearm. (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

3. Side Forearm Plank

HOW TO DO IT: Roll over to one side, and then prop yourself up on your forearm. Raise your other arm up overhead. If you need to modify, bend the top leg and place that foot a bit in front of you for added support. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides.

Elise Joan demonstrating the Side Forearm Plank Curls
Think you can handle the side forearm plank curl? (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

4. Side Forearm Plank Curls

HOW TO DO IT: Start in a forearm side plank, and with your hand behind your head, twist so that your top elbow reaches down toward your bottom arm. Keep twisting for 30 seconds before you switch sides.

Elise Joan demonstrating the Reverse Plank
How long can you hold the reverse plank? (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

5. Reverse Plank

HOW TO DO IT: Sit with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands a bit behind you, and then lift your body off the floor so that you're in a flipped-over plank position. Hold for one minute.

Elise Joan demonstrating the Lateral Leg Tap Plank
Time for the lateral leg tap plank. (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

6. Lateral Leg Tap Plank

HOW TO DO IT: Begin in the top of a push-up position. Take one foot and tap it out to the side three times. But with each tap, extended your leg out further. Repeat on the other side for three taps, and then keep switching legs for the full minute.

Elise Joan demonstrating the Side Plank Leg Lift
Feel the burn with the side plank leg lift. (Image: Ken Stachnik/LIVESTRONG.COM)

7. Side Plank Leg Lift

HOW DO TO IT: Start in a forearm side plank, and then lift your top leg several inches off the floor. Now hold! If you need to modify, bend the top leg and place that foot a bit in front of you for added support. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides.

Get Ready for the Last Week

Look out for the final, and toughest, set of the 4-Week Plank Challenge coming up next week in week 4. Keep track of your progress with this print-out calendar.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook Challenge Group to get support, motivation and virtual workout buddies. Also, be sure to follow Elise on Facebook and Instagram. Love her outfits? Get her Week 3 look at Outdoor Voices, lululemon, Spiritual Gangster and Splits 59.

LIVESTRONG.COM is turning ten years old this summer, and we want to celebrate our birthday with you! On Saturday, August 4, at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the entire LIVESTRONG team and celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, along with our favorite social media influencers, food experts, celebrities, top fitness trainers and our biggest fans will be breaking the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for Most people holding a plank. Are you in? Get tickets before they sell out.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you love or hate planks? Have you ever done a plank challenge? Try Week 3’s moves and tell us what you think! What other kinds of challenges would you like to see on LIVESTRONG.COM? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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