Your Arms and Abs Will Transform After This 2-Week Challenge

Holding a plank is one of the most effective total-body moves, so here's a new challenge for you to conquer: a five-minute plank. Since holding a basic high plank wouldn't be much fun (and could end up causing an injury), this challenge mixes up five basic variations to not only tone your abs and arms but to also target your obliques, legs, and upper back as well.

The five plank variations are high plank, side plank with leg lift (right side), reverse plank, side plank with leg lift (left side), and elbow plank. Here's a two-week plan created by celebrity fitness trainer and owner of The Studio Montreal Val Desjardins, EXOS-certified fitness specialist, who's worked with famous clients including Jennifer Aniston. The goal is to build up to holding each variation for one minute, for a total of five minutes.

If you need longer than two weeks to build up to the full one minute of each move, Desjardins said to complete the Day 1 workout for three days before moving on to the Day 2 workout, and complete that for three days, and so on. That will stretch out this challenge over several weeks. The final day has you completing 60 seconds of each plank variation with 60 seconds of rest in between each. If you wanted to build up to completing all five variations with no rest in between, Desjardins said, "I'd recommend once they reach Day 14, they can start reducing the rest period a bit every week."

Desjardins said to note that "Days 12 and 13 will feel tougher than the final day, as we always prepare harder to execute the final performance." There are no rest days programmed in this two-week challenge, but take them if you need to!

2-Week Plank Challenge

Equipment needed: none

Directions: After warming up for a few minutes with some arm circles and jumping jacks, perform all five of the plank variations listed below for the designated amount of time per day. After each day's workout, stretch out your upper body with Child's pose.

  • High plank

  • Side plank with leg lift (right side)

  • Reverse plank

  • Side plank with leg lift (left side)

  • Elbow plank

Day

Workout

Day 1

10 seconds of each exercise
10-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 2

15 seconds of each exercise
15-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 3

20 seconds of each exercise
20-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 4

30 seconds of each exercise
30-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 5

15 seconds of each exercise
15-second rest between exercises
5 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 6

20 seconds of each exercise
20-second rest between exercises
5 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 7

30 seconds of each exercise
30-second rest between exercises
5 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 8

20 seconds of each exercise
10-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 9

30 seconds of each exercise
15-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 10

20 seconds of each exercise
10-second rest between exercises
5 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 11

30 seconds of each exercise
15-second rest between exercises
5 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 12

45 seconds of each exercise
45-second rest between exercises
2 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 13

45 seconds of each exercise
45-second rest between exercises
3 rounds
1-minute rest between rounds

Day 14

60 seconds of each exercise (you made it!)
60-second rest between exercises
1 round
1-minute rest between rounds

An explanation of how to do each plank variation follows.

Related:

Transform Your Abs With This 2-Week Crunch Challenge - It Takes Just a Few Minutes a Day!