An Ultimate Guide To How Long To Hold A Plank Position?

The plank is among the most adored and despised core exercises. Although it appears simple with no crunching, pushing, or squatting, it seems more difficult than most other exercises and how it burns. But do you know how long to hold a plank to see results?

Continue reading to find out what the Gym experts could say. But first, meet our experts today:

  • Kelsey Wells is the developer of the PWR Workout as well as a Sweat trainer.
  • Jenni Tarma is a Yoga Medicine therapeutic expert and a Yoga Medicine Online instructor.
  • Selena Samuela teaches at Peloton.

A plank seems to be an isometric workout, which means "we're engaging our muscles to hold a certain position statically," according to Jenni Tarma, a Yoga Medicine Online teacher and Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist. "The energy in a plank originates from fighting gravity's pull: you keep yourself stable as gravity tries to drag you to the ground."

The Plank Position

According to Kelsey Wells, a Sweat Trainer, and developer of PWR Workout, planks are highly beneficial because they allow you to build and balance your full body by strengthening the core.

Whereas a plank is commonly considered a core workout, don't be fooled into thinking it's all about the abs.

While your midsection can surely burn, Tarma notes that, as most core exercises, this includes several muscles in your body's trunk, including the spinal erectors, pecs, glutes, lats, shoulder muscles, and also deeper abdominal muscles, as well as spine stabilizers.

"Engagements in some or all of those muscles are frequently cued when instructing planks, so it's safe to say planks were a complete full-body training!" she explains.

Plank Variations  

Whereas most people think of the plank as the front plank accomplished in pushup posture, hands down, with a stiff and straight body and a neutral spine, Peloton Instructor Selena Samuela pointed out a few variants.

Forearm planks are identical to the original but use forearms to lean on such as the straight arms plank side planks or reverse planks.

The Straight Arms Plank

The Most Common Mistakes 

  • Hips that are either too high or low: Wells says that the first aspect you should focus on is your hips. "I notice a lot of individuals lifting their hips too high or lowering them too low," she says. "This is a frequent error that can diminish core engagement." To prevent this, she recommends visualizing yourself pulling your belly button in towards the spine to maintain your glutes tight and your back straight. "From top to foot, your physique should form a perfect line," she adds.
  • Your wrists and shoulders are not properly stacked: Wells recommends stacking the shoulders over the elbows. "If that's too hard for you, you may adjust the technique by shifting into the high plank posture or lowering to the knees, making sure the shoulders are piled over the wrists," she explains.
  • Your spine is not in a neutral position: When performing a plank, it's critical to maintain a neutral posture, which has much to do with the neck, adds Wells. "You no longer have such a neutral spine as soon as you start tilting the neck to look upwards or forward," she says. "Keep the neck in alignment with the spine by staring down at the ground in between your hands."
  • Your body's alignment isn't perfect: Tarma explains that if your body does not resemble a wooden plank, you're probably not planking appropriately. "Ideally, you should establish a perfect line from your heels to your head crown to maximize muscular engagement from around the core. As a result, the most prevalent errors revolve around this alignment's loss!" she continues.

Standard Plank Position 

  • Your muscles aren't working: Not working the glutes, lats, and pecs, muscles most people don't consider to be "the core," are also "lost opportunities to provide firm stability in the plank position, and thus maximize the value of your exercise," according to Tarma.
  • Your abs are weary: According to Samuela, if you see yourself in such a position that appears more like a downward dog than any other, for example, booty in the air with sagging hips, your muscles may be tired. And, In that situation, she declares, "It's time to end your plank!"
  • Wrong underwear subscription: The issue with the region around your bottom body during planking is that most people cannot sit down and stretch out, allowing the air to remove water. Your back, chest, and legs are exposed to the air, which aids in water evaporation. However, if you properly prepare with the correct shapewear for tummy control, you may help fight against unpleasantries down beneath while planking.

How Long Should I Plank?

While it may be interesting to participate in one of the media platforms' plank challenges, do not get bogged down by the numbers on your stopwatch. Consider it an individual challenge rather than a competition with others.

"How long you can hold a plank depends on your fitness level and strength," Wells said. There's no optimal length of time for how long to plank. "The goal is to maintain a plank that is lengthy enough to push yourself while not compromising your form."

On the other hand, Tarma points out that while the aim is to strengthen, exposure to increasingly bigger weights is required.

"So, with such a typical plank, there's indeed a limitation with how much strength you can achieve because we are limited to simply the body weight," she continues. "Once you can hold a well-aligned plank for further than 1 to 2 minutes, you may be gaining endurance instead of strength."

If you're new to planking, Samuela recommends starting with short intervals and gradually increasing.

"I recommend beginning with 10-second stays and descending to the ground and then repeating several times before progressing to 20-second stays, 30, 45, or 60," she explains. "A one-minute plank is an average plank time and an excellent goal for beginners!"

Wells adds that if you're having problems getting over any period, don't be scared to change things around. "Another wonderful option is to do a plank on your knees rather. "Always make changes before quitting," she advises.

Instead, when the plank isn't demanding enough, try increasing the difficulty. "There are several wonderful plank variants that may help add diversity to your exercise and end up making your planks a bit more difficult if needed, including side plank, plank dips, to mention a few."

When Will Planks Become Easier? 

When you include planks in your regimen, you can expect some serious burn and pain at first. Tarma reminds us that "very deconditioned persons will suffer some discomfort when they initially begin any workout regimen, even performing planks."

The good news is that most people will notice a gradual improvement quite fast. She also says, "The trick, like with everything else, is to move at a reasonable rate so that you are:
  1. Stressing your tissues in such a meaningful way to drive adaptation
  2. Doing that in doses you could recover from (recovery is where the strength occurs)." 

"The more you plank, the easier it'll become!" Wells adds. "Please remember that planning has to be a challenge." Once things get easier, it's time to develop, with either a more challenging hold or extending time.

Apart from the muscle improvements, studying a new exercise encourages neurologic adaptation, which means "your neurological system gets more competent at regulating the movement," notes Tarma. "This is absolutely a component in any exercise feeling easy, the movement gets more familiar and accessible the more regularly you train it."

How Long To See The Results? 

Again, this depends on the individual as well as many factors, such as "previous movement experience, coordination, loading history, and stamina," Tarma says. "Ironically, people who are highly conditioned attempt to associate in smaller improvements as they're already able to operate much nearer to their full capacity, and attempting to make even small gains requires a lot of work."

Result For Planking Effort

Fitness beginners, on the other hand, will notice significant improvements very fast. Endurance, movement ability, and strength will typically increase substantially within several weeks if you plank at least 3 to 4 times each week for a period which feels appropriately challenging." 

Also, keep in mind that frequent exposure is essential. "A little bit more frequently is preferable to one big plank exercise once a week," Tarma explains.

Wells also emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded training program to achieve results. "If you aim to extend the time you could maintain a plank for or to build core stability, try including some core variety workouts into the training to attack your muscle in new ways," she recommends.

Final Thoughts

Planks are an excellent and efficient workout to develop your core and the rest of your body, even whether you are a Yogi or a HIIT lover.

Also, about how long to hold a plank, try not to get caught up in the numbers on your clock. Quality is far more essential than quantity since performing a flawless plank for just a short amount of time will yield you far more benefits than performing one incorrectly for a longer period.  

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