Here at the UPMC marketing office, we found that reaching for an extra cup of coffee isn\u2019t the only way to put a boost of energy into our work day.\nWhat started as a \u201cwhat-if?\u201d conversation between team members of the marketing department has since turned into a daily, 90-second plank challenge we have been practicing for more than three months.\nHow We Got Started Planking\nA few people in the office happened to read the same article one September morning, about\u00a0someone who did a daily plank challenge\u00a0at their workplace. It sounded interesting enough that we decided to take up the plank challenge here at US Steel Tower.\nWe decided on planking before lunchtime and holding the plank for 90 seconds. To put our plan in action, we scheduled a two-minute meeting on all our calendars, once a day, every day. At 11:45 a.m., we receive a pop-up notification from Microsoft Outlook that simply states, \u201c90-second plank!\u201d with the location listed as \u201cin your cube,\u201d and drop down into plank position as a team.\nHow to Plank, UPMC Style\nWhat\u2019s a plank, you ask? Imagine putting yourself in the push-up position on the ground, but instead of placing your hands on the floor, you put your weight on your elbows and forearms.\nPlanks strengthen the abdominal muscles when held over a period of time. Try it for a minute or two, for example.\nFor a proper plank, follow these tips:\n\nMake sure your elbows sit directly under your shoulders\nFocus on keeping a straight spine\nDon\u2019t forget to breathe\nLast but not least, tighten your core to get the best results for your plank\n\nAt first, we thought it might be embarrassing to drop down and plank in front of others who might walk by our desks, as working (and planking) inside of cubicles lacks privacy. That feeling, however, quickly faded. Our work area has become known to all surrounding teams as the \u201cplanking row.\u201d\nPeople who walk by usually stop over to ask what we\u2019re doing, root us on, or chit-chat about a similar challenge they can do\u00a0with their own team. A select few have even dropped down and started to plank alongside us.\nBenefits of Planking\nPlanking has been found to be a\u00a0better core workout than sit-ups, as it gives you strength and stability in your core to help you complete other exercises more easily. Doing regular planks, along with other core exercises, such as side props and bridges, can also\u00a0help your posture.\nThe Results of the UPMC Plank Challenge\nDo we all have rock-hard abs after 14 weeks of daily planking?\u00a0Perhaps not, but the habit has certainly disciplined us in other ways.\nMore than ever before, most of us are practicing\u00a0healthier habits in the office\u00a0by walking and taking the stairs more often,\u00a0drinking more water, and sharing new workout\u00a0ideas\u00a0with the rest of the team. There have even been a few instances when we\u2019d drop down for a second plank after a gluttonous afternoon of treating ourselves to cookies and cupcakes.\nWe know that doing 90-second office planks is not the only thing we should do in order to lead a healthy lifestyle, but it sure does serve as a reminder and a quick energy-boosting activity that we can do during our busy work days. Plus, there\u2019s nothing like the feeling of counting down from those final 10 seconds to zero, knowing that we get to go eat our lunches after we\u2019re done with our plank.\nWe\u2019re hopeful we can extend our plank from 90 seconds to two minutes sometime in the new year, and that you\u2019ll find inspiration to begin your own plank challenge at your office.\nInterested in trying it out? Grab a friend or coworker at the office for accountability, put it in your calendars as a recurring event (a time slot before lunch is optimal), and make a point of planking every day.