Editor's note: This post was written by Prevention writer Leah Wynalek and originally appeared on Prevention.com.
Confession: I usually eat lunch at my desk. I know it's bad for my health (and my keyboard), but sometimes I just want to close my office door and listen to Spotify while scarfing my green curry and veggies. Outside of work I'm constantly on the move—I run every morning—but between 9 and 5, I'm a bit of a shut-in. Aside from coffee and bathroom breaks, I'm notoriously desk-bound.
At my last job, a coworker suggested our entire row of cubicles schedule twice daily "plank breaks" in the morning and afternoon to re-energize. For 2 days, we all diligently heeded our reminder notifications, got out of our desk chairs, and dropped into plank position for 1 minute. But by Day 3 we were all clicking "ignore" and working through them.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago as I paired yet another packed lunch with Twitter. Feeling guilty, I wondered if I should revive the plank break to offset my sedentary lunchtime. So I pitched this story, set daily reminders for 10:45 AM and 3:45 PM, and vowed to hold plank position for 1 minute and 30 seconds each time that pesky alarm sounded. Here's how it went.
>> Read more: Planks For Days: 13 Variations You Need To Try
I felt super self-conscious at first. Even though I had the luxury of closing an office door rather than planking in public, I was paranoid that a co-worker would walk past, see my feet sticking out from behind my desk, and rush in to see what the heck was going on. I imagine it'd be a little awkward to explain, "Oh don't mind me, just planking!" Especially since I'm new here. Luckily nobody seemed to notice—or they just accepted that I was somewhat eccentric.
I learned the value of a minute. As a regular yoga-doer (bring on the chaturangas!) I thought a minute and a half holding plank was going to be easy-peasy. Boy, was I over-confident. When I did them right, my core quaked, and I'd look desperately at the timer on my iPhone as it counted down to zero—aka plank freedom. I considered cutting my breaks to one even minute, but I'm not one to back away from a challenge, so I stuck with my original goal 'til the bitter end.
I finally focused on form—and learned how to mix things up. I'm still far from perfect plank position, but trying to take photos for this experiment pointed out the flaws in my form: an arched back, dropped hips, a craned neck, rounded shoulders, all the usual suspects. With each workday, I strived to improve. Of course, the basic plank or forearm planks got boring day after day, so I spiced things up with side or raised leg planks. Jillian Michaels would be so proud.
To see how the Prevention writer felt physically after a month's worth of planks, click here!