Planks are great for your body, that is a fact. The benefits are fantastic, and you should do them daily — there is no question about it. But what has many people confused when it comes to planks is how long you should hold them.
Jillian Michaels did a 30-day challenge that led up to holding a plank for five minutes on the final day. It was a gradual increase—10 seconds at a time—but was it really necessary to hold the plank for five minutes? There are also plank challenges throughout the world where people hold a plank for hours, but is there a physical benefit to doing this?
Can you hold a side plank? Push yourself to add a further 10 seconds but do not sacrifice good form! 🤔 pic.twitter.com/U42saqktfp— Heavy Hitter Fitness & Nutrition Network (@heavyhitterfit) July 27, 2018
Co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab and advisor to Promix Nutrition, Albert Matheny recently shed some light on this hot topic in an interview with Women's Health. First, he makes it abundantly clear form is the most important thing when it comes to planking. The amount of time you hold a plank is secondary to proper form. If you hold a plank for an extended period of time, but your form is off, it does your body more harm then good. Also, forcing your body to plank for an extensive amount of time will put undue stress on your lower body.
Assuming you have excellent plank form, Matheny said the ideal time to hold a plank is one minute. The reason is after one minute of your body being under that much tension the plank can become more of a challenge, and this when injuries occur.
He also shared there are a couple of ways to reach the minute mark safely. Hold a plank for 10 seconds, relax for five seconds, then repeat this six times to reach one minute.
30 seconds is nothing until you have to hold a plank 😩— OddertM (@OddertM) June 6, 2018
If you are doing planks holding them for no longer than one minute will give you the best results. You can build up to it or even do shorter sessions that equal one minute, but that should be your goal. Remember, listen to your body if it begins to tense up or you start struggling you should stop and rest.
Do you agree Matheny's plank time? How long do you hold plank position?