When my team at POPSUGAR asked who wanted to try a plank challenge, my hand shot up. But back in my day (lol) when I was in college, a "plank challenge" consisted of taking photos of yourself lying face down, stiff as a board, somewhere crazy (it was a weird internet thing in the late 2000s). It was fun! This recent plank challenge however, was . . . not as fun.
I decided on challenging myself to hold a two-minute plank daily for 14 days to see if I'd notice any physical or mental differences by the end. While I was definitely feeling some toned and strong abdominal muscles, my biggest takeaway was about setting goals. Here are some things to expect on your own plank challenge.
You Can Customise It
Tip number one for this challenge: you can make it your own. I set mine to be a two-minute challenge because it felt like something I could do every day. Hard, but not so bad that I couldn't complete other workouts.
Additionally, pick a position that feels just challenging enough for your body and still accommodates for any discomfort or injury. I began this challenge in a high plank (top of a push-up), but a few days in, I decided it wasn't challenging enough, so I lowered myself on down to an elbow plank and finally felt a little bit of muscle shaking (woo!).
It Doesn't Get Easier
In two weeks time, doing a two-minute plank daily did not become a breeze. I had anticipated that a plank would feel like a cakewalk by the end of day 14, but alas . . . it was just as challenging as day 10, day four, etc.
You'll Feel Stronger in Other Workouts
One thing that I appreciated was the abdominal activation that ended up happening in my other workouts. I became acutely aware of my core and how I was using it in everything from strength training to SoulCycle. I did end up feeling like I had a stronger base from which to work off of — and since you use your core in basically everything, this was a nice little benefit of the plank challenge.
Feeling good about my strength and muscle from these planks!
You'll Want to Set an Alarm
I found that to keep myself consistent, it was important to set a reminder on my calendar. This ensured that I got it done every day and stayed on top of my small goal.
Two Minutes Is More Powerful Than You'd Think
One great thing I learned from this little experiment is that every minute in your day can be used for something powerful. How are you maximising your day? What are you using each minute and each moment for? What are you wasting time on? Even a minute here or there dedicated to something that doesn't serve you can add up over time and deplete your emotional and physical energy. Channel your minutes into something that serves you.
You'll Learn the Importance of Setting Small Goals
If you're anything like me, you set BIG goals for yourself and often overlook the value of smaller ones. This was a lesson in not taking those smaller goals for granted and not undervaluing the power of adding something like this to your routine. If I can do a two-minute plank every day, what else can I do? Can I add two minutes of meditation every day? Maybe I could add one more strength-training move!
This small bit of goal setting reminded me of my recent conversation with celeb trainer and Revenge Body star Latreal Mitchell. "Limit yourself, and set realistic goals," she told me. "Set a goal for yourself that every day for one week, you're going to wake up early enough to eat breakfast." She noted that this was essentially the key to weight-loss success, but it didn't really hit home for me until I experienced my own mini victory.