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How long to hold a plank as a beginner

You’re probably sitting in the position for longer than you should.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.

It’s hard to imagine a more seemingly mundane exercise than the plank. After all, the move is defined by its lack of movement, requiring you to hold your body rigid, straight, and still for the duration of each set. But it’s also hard to think of a more challenging and effective core builder, which is why you’ll find it in just about every fit test and core workout you’ll do.

The plank’s power comes from its stillness. By holding your body stiff—glutes and core engaged, focused on the squeeze—you maximize your core’s time under tension, a key strength-building stimulus. Indeed, a study by Canadian researchers shows that it’s even more effective than dynamic abs exercises such as the curl-up and Russian twist at strengthening your core at its primary job: Supporting and stabilizing your spine.

So how long should you hold the plank to optimize your results? Assuming you aren’t going for the world record—8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds—the advice typically ranges from 10 seconds to around two minutes. At the low end of the spectrum are scientists like Stuart McGill, PhD, one of the world’s foremost authorities on spine biomechanics and the lead author of the above study, which had participants perform up to five sets of the plank lasting just 10 seconds. At the upper end is, well, almost everyone else. But what everyone agrees on is that whether you do multiple short sets or a few long ones, the key is to challenge your core.

Your move: Follow the advice from both ends of the spectrum, occasionally swapping out your standard longer sets of the plank for twice the number of short ones. But if you absolutely need a top-line number for your training sessions and you’re not as experienced in the gym, don’t exceed a plank hold for more than 60 seconds. If endurance is your ultimate goal, just remember that anything beyond 2 minutes can start to be counterproductive.

By peppering in short and long holds, you’ll inject some muscle-building, plateau-preventing variation into your core routine. Similarly, make sure you’re doing more than just one type of plank. These six plank variations are a good place to start.

Be it yoga, pilates or simple bodyweight conditioning, plank is one exercise that finds a place in all forms of workout. The isometric core strengthening exercise that requires maintaining a position similar to a push-up for the maximum possible time has been long endorsed by fitness trainers for its incredible health benefits. It is particularly effective in building core strength and stability, but can also help to target the muscles of your entire body. One question that bothers most of the people performing this exercise is whether they should hold one long plank or multiple sets of short planks? In this article, we will tell what is a better choice.

02 /5 ​The most effective core exercise

Plank is the most effective core strengthening bodyweight exercises and also one of the most difficult ones. Balancing your body weight on your forearms and toes, while maintaining the posture is not as easy as it appears. It takes months for people to come to the right pose and hold it for a considerable amount of time.

According to a June 2015 study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, the plank is more effective than crunches or sit-ups because holding this pose requires the muscle to be contracted the entire time, while other exercises mandate a much shorter contraction. Besides, it can help you target more muscles including your abs, glutes, quads, lats, pecs, back and even the muscles in your feet and ankles.

03 /5 ​How long is long enough?

One long plank or multiple sets, it can be tough to decide which one is better. For beginners, it is recommended to hold the plank in sets as maintaining the form for a long time might be a bit difficult for them. In general, a long plank is better than small sets as it helps to put more stress on your muscles and nervous system. But doing this can comprise your form and may lead to injury or muscle strain.

To train your body well, opt for small sessions with multiple sets. There is no point in performing an exercise when your form is compromised. You can begin with 10 seconds and hold the pose for 30 seconds or 1 minute at one time. When you start to feel that your hips are dropping or your body is not straight, take a break and start again.

If you are new planking, Samuela suggests beginning with short time intervals and working your way up. “I recommend starting with 10-second holds and then dropping to the floor and repeating a few times, then build up to 20-second holds, 30, 45, 60,” she says, “A one-minute plank is a great goal!Apr 9, 2021

How long should a beginner hold a plank?

When you first start out, aim for a 20-30 second plank. Practise doing this for a week, and then when you feel ready, try holding it for 40-50 seconds, repeat and keep building from there.

Is holding a plank for 30 seconds good?

Turns out, it’s not that long at all. The ideal time to hold plank, according to Austin Lopez, CSCS and owner of Ausome Fit, is somewhere in the range of 20-30 seconds. In order to be an effective core exercise, it should be completed as a “high-tension move,” Austin told POPSUGAR.

How many calories does a 1 minute plank burn?

The plank is a highly effective isometric exercise that burns approximately two to five calories per minute, based on body weight.

Is planking for 2 minutes good?

If you can’t hold a plank for 120 seconds, you’re either a) too fat; b) too weak; or c) doing something wrong in your workouts. A fit, healthy guy should be able to do a two-minute plank. John is also clear about the value of going beyond two minutes: There is none. “Enough is enough,” he says.

How do you know if you’re doing a plank correctly?

Many people utilize sloppy, weak Planks that make it rather easy to endure a one, two or even five-minute hold. If your shoulders seem to be fatiguing before your core muscles, it’s a sure sign your Plank is lame.

Why is planking so hard?

If your shoulder blades are “winged” (i.e., not flat, but rather sticking up like angel’s wings) during a plank, you need to push harder off the ground. But if that’s too difficult, you probably have weak shoulders and upper-body muscles, which can limit your ability to perform the pushing motion, says Tripp.

How long should a girl hold a plank for?

Speaking to The Independent, Benji Tiger, a personal trainer at Orange Theory in Florida said, “You should be holding a plank for 30 seconds to a minute.” And if you were to do planking intervals, “holding for 20 seconds each time would be better.”Aug 20, 2019

Is 1 minute plank a day enough?

Planks are a simple and power-packed total body exercise that can help you build strength in your lower and upper body, engage your core, and stabilize your joints. Even doing just one minute of planks a day can achieve amazing results over time, so get started today!Mar 18, 2021

Are planks a waste of time?

The Plank, or Prone Isolation Abdominal exercise, is designed to strengthen the core. However, holding a Plank beyond two minutes is simply a waste of time. If you can hit 120 seconds, you have sufficient endurance in your muscles. Think of long Planks this way.

Can you get a 6 pack from just planking?

While the plank, and its numerous variations, are excellent at training your core in a functional way — assisting with stability, posture and spinal alignment — the move alone will not give you a six-pack, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

What’s a good time for a plank?

And the longest plank time held by a male was about 7.5 minutes. However, the researchers concluded that any time held for over 2 minutes (roughly) is considered excellent.

Are planks better on elbows or hands?

The plank is one of the best moves for targeting your core. Stay up: The straight-arm plank is more difficult than the elbow plank, so if you’re finding that you need more of a challenge as you hang out on your forearms, focus on perfecting a plank just on your hands.

Is a 4 minute plank impressive?

While the four-minute plank can be an endurance challenge for individuals in excellent physical condition, performing four one-minute planks can be just as beneficial with regard to building your core musculature.

Is a 10 minute plank good?

A 10 minute plank workout daily can empower you with great dexterity. Planks require great focus and mental strength. It can sync your body and mind for a better perspective about yourself. Planks require no equipment and can be done anywhere.

Is a 3 minute plank impressive?

Planking is an excellent way to challenge your entire body. Doing them every day – for just 3 minutes – burns more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen when you plank just 3 minutes a day ensure you burn more energy even when inactive.

What is the 30 day plank challenge?

The plank challenge is a 30-day program to strengthen the core and build up endurance. Each day of the challenge, you’ll gradually increase the amount of time that you hold a plank. By day 12 of the program, the goal is to be able to hold a plank for 2 minutes.

How long should I plank for a flat stomach?

To lose belly fat, experts suggest that you stick to the goal of holding a plank for about 60 seconds for a minimum of 3 times. According to trainers, following this practice of holding a plank for 60 seconds gives the best results.

Is planking everyday good?

Planking burns more calories, when done every day, than other core exercises like situps. More importantly, planks help strengthen massive muscle groups in your body. If you have good, strong muscles on your body, you will be able to burn calories more effectively and be less at risk for gaining extra weight.

Do planks give you abs?

Planks. Love ’em or hate ’em, planks are a supercharged way to tighten your core, slim your abs, and shape your waistline. Many experts now recommend planking over crunches or sit-ups, since planks put less strain on your spine and hip flexors.

What happens if you do 1 minute plank everyday?

4. Body posture improves. Planking exercise improves your body posture by strengthening your back, neck, chest, shoulder and abdominal muscles. If you do the plank every day, your posture improves and your back will be straight.

How many minutes should I do planks?

As you progress, you can extend your plank for up to one or even two minutes, but don’t go beyond that. “Two minutes is often considered the maximum, and you don’t get much more benefit after that,” says L’Italien.

Here you can get information about How to How Long to Hold a Plank As a Beginner. The plank exercise may be a great way to strengthen your core, your back, and your legs.

As a beginner, you would possibly not be ready to hold a plank for very long, which is okay! We’ve answered your questions about the plank, so you’ll set your own goals and work your way toward a stronger body.

Table of Contents

How long should I hold the plank for best results?

Aim for 10 to 30 seconds at a time. When you first start out, you might only be ready to hold a plank for five to 10 seconds, and that’s okay! As you get stronger and your body gets want to the position, try holding it for longer and longer.

Hold a plank for two minutes maximum. Experts note that after 2 minutes, you’ve reached the utmost benefits that the plank can offer you. If you’ll hold it for two minutes straight without wavering, you’re building muscles and burning calories to reach your fitness goals.

How do you do a plank correctly?

Balance on your forearms and your toes with your body off the ground.

Start by lying on your stomach with your forearms underneath you. Keep your elbows directly underneath your shoulders together with your palms down. Engage your abs and your torso to get up onto your toes, keeping your hips and stomach off the ground. Squeeze your legs and your glutes to stay your body during a line.

  • Holding the plank only works if you’re within the right formation. If you’ve got to sway your back or raise your rear end to carry the plank, it’s time to sink and have a rest.

How many reps of planks should I do?

Try doing 1 to 6 reps every day.

When you first start out, you’ll only be ready to hold one plank a day, which is fine! As you build strength, you’ll work your way up to 2 planks, then 3, and so on.

  • If you can’t do all 6 planks during a row, that’s totally fine. It’d be easier to space them out throughout the day.

Is holding a plank for 30 seconds good?

Yes, especially for a beginner!

Half a moment may be a great amount of time to carry a plank, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you can’t reach 30 seconds directly, don’t sweat it—just keep trying until you’ll.

What happens if you do planks every day?

You’ll strengthen your core.

  • Planks are an excellent full body workout that target your abs and your core muscles. If you are doing planks a day, you’ll probably notice that your core muscles are stronger, which is great for balancing and holding your form during other exercises.

You’ll also strengthen your legs.

  • In the plank, your glutes, quads, and hamstrings also are getting a workout. Squeeze your legs tightly within the plank position to urge the complete effect of this exercise.

Does the plank get easier?

Yes, the plank gets easier the more often you are doing it.

When you first start out, you might feel shaky or weak as you hold the position. Keep squeezing your legs and your abs, and check out to carry a plank for extended periods whenever you are doing it.

  • If you’re struggling to carry the plank position, keep your arms in situ, but sink to your knees. You’ll still work your abs and your core, but your legs won’t need to work quite as hard.

Are planks cardio or strength exercises?

Planks are mostly a strength-building exercise.

Since you’re holding a static position and flexing your muscles the whole time, you’re performing on building muscular strength. If you’d wish to add some cardio to your plank exercises, try modifying them with hip touches or up and down planks.

You’re probably sitting in the position for longer than you should.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.

It’s hard to imagine a more seemingly mundane exercise than the plank. After all, the move is defined by its lack of movement, requiring you to hold your body rigid, straight, and still for the duration of each set. But it’s also hard to think of a more challenging and effective core builder, which is why you’ll find it in just about every fit test and core workout you’ll do.

The plank’s power comes from its stillness. By holding your body stiff—glutes and core engaged, focused on the squeeze—you maximize your core’s time under tension, a key strength-building stimulus. Indeed, a study by Canadian researchers shows that it’s even more effective than dynamic abs exercises such as the curl-up and Russian twist at strengthening your core at its primary job: Supporting and stabilizing your spine.

So how long should you hold the plank to optimize your results? Assuming you aren’t going for the world record—8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds—the advice typically ranges from 10 seconds to around two minutes. At the low end of the spectrum are scientists like Stuart McGill, PhD, one of the world’s foremost authorities on spine biomechanics and the lead author of the above study, which had participants perform up to five sets of the plank lasting just 10 seconds. At the upper end is, well, almost everyone else. But what everyone agrees on is that whether you do multiple short sets or a few long ones, the key is to challenge your core.

Your move: Follow the advice from both ends of the spectrum, occasionally swapping out your standard longer sets of the plank for twice the number of short ones. But if you absolutely need a top-line number for your training sessions and you’re not as experienced in the gym, don’t exceed a plank hold for more than 60 seconds. If endurance is your ultimate goal, just remember that anything beyond 2 minutes can start to be counterproductive.

By peppering in short and long holds, you’ll inject some muscle-building, plateau-preventing variation into your core routine. Similarly, make sure you’re doing more than just one type of plank. These six plank variations are a good place to start.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner Click This Image for 5 Different Plank Workouts (for all skill levels)

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  • Another Plank World Record That We Can All Learn From
  • Training Tips From The 3+ Hour Plank World Record Holder
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  • How Much Should I Be Able To Squat? (Squat Standards)
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References:

Note: this post is sponsored by SpecForce Abs

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

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This Post Has 72 Comments

Great article !
I’m starting to train and did 2 x one minute but my best was 5 years ago with almost 2 minutes after my training session (weights). So it seems that was nothing.
I’ll try to reach 5 minutes within a month but after seeing your video I’m not sure I will in that short time =)

Thanks, Mik! Work hard and you might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in a month.

I’m a 54 year old male with Ostio and Arthritis. I recently entered a plank competition in Montreal and lasted 5mins 12 seconds

I’ve been ‘resting’ on my laurels by being content with a 1 min. plank. Thanks to this article, I’ll set my goal higher.

Right on, Nathan. You got this.

I really enjoyed your article. I started planking 3 days ago. Absolutely love it. I challenged a friend to a 30 day planking challenge. I went on line and found modified planking and other great tips. The first day I did one modified plank, 2nd I did 2 modified planks and 2 modified side planks..

Today I did 4 regular planks. I am so excited!! I am working on form and will work on doing 1 minute and build up. I held my poses for about 30 seconds but they were good ones!

Thank you for the article and I will definitely keep you posted!

This newbie is working towards being a Beginner!

Great article. Humorous delivery and appealing to the masses. I really like the “unofficial” stats you provided. Thank you for sharing! I am newly hired to create the Corporate Wellness program on Facebook’s Campus for the AlliedBarton Security Staff and will definitely have to remember to add some humor into our workouts and assessments to keep them motivated.

Hi John, thanks for taking the time to write this article. I have been holding my plank for two minutes at a maximum, but will be looking to increase it by small intervals per day as I do the exercise.

My pleasure, Justin. Keep up the good work.

Hi John,great article.My goal is at least two minutes,since I start last month from 20 seconds to 1.42 today.Still only basic plank,in future other variations.Best article about plank so far.Keep up!

I am just starting planking, say I start with 20 sec or 30 sec plank. Is there a series of sets that I do? or do I just do it once a day.What would be a good start. I have lost about 25 lbs with eating better and working out. But the core needs work.

I held my all time best plank yesterday at 5 minutes and 9 seconds. I am a 45 year old female. I am supper pleased but pushing to beat that soon!

Hello, I did not know anything about the plank before reading your article, but last time at the gym I saw a guy doing it, so I tried it at home and held it for 2 minutes, I could have gone longer, I’ll try my best later.

Most experts suggest anywhere from 10 up to 30 seconds is plenty. “Focus on doing multiple sets of smaller amounts of time,” says L’Italien. As you progress, you can extend your plank for up to one or even two minutes, but don’t go beyond that.

How long should the average person be able to hold a plank?

If you can’t hold a plank for 120 seconds, you’re either a) too fat; b) too weak; or c) doing something wrong in your workouts. A fit, healthy guy should be able to do a two-minute plank. John is also clear about the value of going beyond two minutes: There is none. “Enough is enough,” he says.

How long should a beginner hold a plank?

When you first start out, aim for a 20-30 second plank. Practise doing this for a week, and then when you feel ready, try holding it for 40-50 seconds, repeat and keep building from there.

Do planks reduce waist size?

And although it’s impossible to crunch your way to six-pack abs (only a proper diet will help you achieve that goal), you can lose inches around your waist with exercises that burn calories and strengthen your core. Start in a plank position with hands aligned below shoulders.

Is it OK to plank before bed?

Planks can improve your posture and spinal alignment (7) by strengthening your core and the rest of your body. Planks are part mental, part physical. Performing this challenging stretch before bed can help you unwind by giving your mind a single thing to focus on.

How long should I plank for a flat stomach?

To lose belly fat, experts suggest that you stick to the goal of holding a plank for about 60 seconds for a minimum of 3 times. According to trainers, following this practice of holding a plank for 60 seconds gives the best results.

Is a 1 minute plank good?

Despite the varying opinions on how long you should hold the position, most agree that the most important part of planking comes down to form. The good news is planking for longer than one minute is not recommended – as there are no added benefits to holding the pose for extended periods of time except to show off.

Is it normal to shake while planking?

Exercises such as planks are especially likely to trigger the trembles because your muscles must generate a lot of force to hold your body in one position, explains Alice Holland, DPT, director of Stride Strong Physical Therapy in Portland, Oregon.

Is planking good for abs?

Planks activate more muscles Additionally, planks don’t just work your core: They work your entire body. Planks require your arms, your legs, and all of your abs, making them an all-encompassing workout and a more efficient way to exercise.

What is the 30 day plank challenge?

The plank challenge is a 30-day program to strengthen the core and build up endurance. Each day of the challenge, you’ll gradually increase the amount of time that you hold a plank. By day 12 of the program, the goal is to be able to hold a plank for 2 minutes.

How many push ups a day is good?

There is no limit to how many push-ups one can do in a day. Many people do more than 300 push-ups a day. But for an average person, even 50 to 100 push-ups should be enough to maintain a good upper body, provided it is done properly. You can start with 20 push-ups, but do not stick to this number.

How many calories do planks burn?

The plank is a highly effective isometric exercise that burns approximately two to five calories per minute, based on body weight. Isometric exercise involves contraction of a particular group of muscles in a static position.

Is it better to plank on hands or elbows?

The plank is one of the best moves for targeting your core. Stop praying: Clasping your hands in elbow plank makes the exercise easier on your abs (and can cause your shoulders to round) so unclasp your hands and focus on creating a long line with your body, shoulders and back, instead.

How many reps of planks should I do?

Most experts suggest anywhere from 10 up to 30 seconds is plenty. “Focus on doing multiple sets of smaller amounts of time,” says L’Italien. As you progress, you can extend your plank for up to one or even two minutes, but don’t go beyond that.

Is it OK to plank everyday?

Doing plank builds muscles and provide support to your back and neck. It also decreases back pain. Performing plank every day will lower the risk of injuries to neck and back.

How do you know if you’re doing a plank correctly?

Many people utilize sloppy, weak Planks that make it rather easy to endure a one, two or even five-minute hold. If your shoulders seem to be fatiguing before your core muscles, it’s a sure sign your Plank is lame.

How long should a girl hold a plank for?

Speaking to The Independent, Benji Tiger, a personal trainer at Orange Theory in Florida said, “You should be holding a plank for 30 seconds to a minute.” And if you were to do planking intervals, “holding for 20 seconds each time would be better.”Aug 20, 2019

Are planks better than sit ups?

Sit-ups definitely have their place in a core workout. But if you prefer sit-ups over planks, plan to strengthen other important core muscles by doing complimentary exercises. If your goal is to have a strong overall core, then planks may be your best bet.

What happens if you do planks everyday?

“They are great for your posture — by increasing the strength in your core, back, and chest, it is a lot easier to stop yourself hunching over and to keep your shoulders back and down,” she said. “A strong core is vital for injury prevention and will massively improve your workouts and ability to move more, too.

Don’t let Plank Pose be your worst nightmare. Here’s how to build a Plank safely. Add it to your vinyasa flow or practice it on the side, for total body strength.

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How long can you hold Plank? One yogini stayed in this pose for 34 minutes and 15 seconds during the Powerflow Yoga Plank Challenge at YJ LIVE! in NYC this year. Can you imagine? We went to challenge teacher Kristen Kemp for tips on upping your own Plank game. Want to practice with us in person? Join us at YJ LIVE! San Diego, June 24–27.

Either you love it or hate it—or maybe both. Plank Pose brings up a lot of feelings (and shakes and sweat) for most of us. That’s because it’s really hard to hold all of your body weight on just your two palms and the balls of your feet. But Plank Challenge winner Katalin Axman, a yoga therapist from Houston, held this pose longer than 50 other yogis that day. And she made it look relatively easy. “I never did a Plank challenge before,” she says. “I thought, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ I just really tuned into my body and tried to make it fun.”

As a yoga teacher for the past eight years, Katalin knew a few tricks to get her through. “I tried to focus on my breath,” she said. “I adjusted and shifted my weight a little bit. I was really being in the present moment, working with the breath and having fun.” Sound impressive? We thought so. The cool thing, though, is you can do it too. Plank Pose is great for building total body strength—arms, shoulders, neck, core, legs and more. And strength aside, it’s a workout for your mind. Plank teaches you to think more clearly, and stay calm and focused—despite every internal desire to drop to your knees. Here’s how you can start holding Plank longer at home or in class with more poise and grace.

Prep for Plank Pose with Rounds of Cat/Cow

Warm up your body before you go into Plank to lubricate the joints and loosen up your muscle groups. Rounds of Cat and Cow Poses will warm your spine and get you in the groove. Here’s how:

Come to all fours in a tabletop position with a long, neutral spine. Spread your fingers wide and press your palms into your mat, grounding down through your pointer fingers’ root knuckle. Exhale to round your back, tucking your tailbone and pointing your toes. Inhale and drop your belly, putting a dip in your back. Push your heart forward as you move your shoulder blades down your back and lift your sit bones.

Repeat these cat and cow shapes, moving with breath, 5-10 times. (Hint: If your shoulders still feel tight, move through 3-5 Sun Salutations As.)

Prep Your Mind for Plank Pose Using Your Breath

Before you try the Plank challenge, take a comfortable seated position, settling into your mat and the present moment with five deep inhales and exhales. Focus on the feeling of air moving in and out of your nose. (Calming your mind is just as important as warming up your body for this pose.) Later on, when you reach your edge and you feel like dropping, you can return to your breath and ground down in a renewed sense of purpose to stay in the pose.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

Build Your Daily Challenge: 6 Steps to Master Plank Pose

Plank Pose is demanding, so first thing’s first: we need to ensure your shoulders and wrists stay supported and safe. Be aware throughout that your biceps and triceps should be doing the heavy lifting, not your joints. To master Plank, follow these steps.

1. Start in tabletop position. Slide your right and left knees back 4-6 inches until you have formed one straight line of your spine, from the crown of your head to your knees on the floor.

2. On your hands and knees, engage your biceps and triceps by squeezing and lifting the muscles above your elbows. Protect your wrists by spreading your fingers wide and pressing down through your fingertips and knuckles. Engage your shoulder blades and pull them down your back to keep pressure off your rotator cuffs.

3. In this half-Plank position, take 5 deep inhales and exhales through your nose.

If you feel like you’ve had enough stop here. Repeat half-Plank once a day to build strength.

4. If you need more, step your right foot back and your left foot back into full Plank. Press into your fingertips and knuckles. Slide your shoulders down your back. Hug your side body into your spine as if your waist was getting smaller. Lift your inner thighs toward the ceiling and lengthen through the heels of your feet by pressing them toward the back of the room.

5. Take 5 deep breaths in Plank.

6. Place your knees down and take Child’s Pose.

Repeat this exercise, starting with a half-Plank to warm up, and build up to a point where you can hold it for 10 breaths, then 20 and 30 and so on. Do it once a day adding a few breaths each time.

Incorporate What You’ve Learned to Hold Plank Pose

Now that you can hold Plank, how and when should you do it? The answer’s simple: you can Plank during a flow or on its own. It’s ALL beneficial to you.

Don’t Forget the Warm Up

Do 5 Cat and Cow Poses and at least 3 Sun Salutation As. Plank Pose should come after your warm ups when your joints and muscles feel less tight. Hint: Plank earlier in your practice, about one-third of the way into your time on the mat to maximize the benefits of this pose before you get too tired. Try Plank after a standing poses like Warrior 1 and Warrior II to fire up your legs. Finish your practice with core work in Boat Pose. Then move to backbends, forward folds and Savasana.

Use Plank to Inspire Your Vinyasa Flow

Plank is an important part of a vinyasa flow. It’s the top of a push up, and also the beginning of lowering halfway down into Chaturanga. When you start to hold Plank with less effort, bend your elbows straight back and hover your chest four inches above the floor for Chaturanga. Knees can be up or down. Then lift your heart up and through into Cobra Pose or Upward-Facing Dog. Send your hips up and back into Downward-Facing Dog. Turn your Plank strength into empowering Chaturangas during your flow.

Be patient with yourself — Strength comes with time

Use the timer on your phone to see how long you can hold Plank with a smooth steady breath. When your breath gets choppy, it’s time to come down. Tricks to holding Plank longer include breathing more deeply and focusing your gaze on the floor in front of you. Try not to let your mind wander from what you’re doing. You want to stay present and aware of all of the sensations in your body (and come down as soon as you feel you need to). Plank becomes meditative in this way. When you want to hold on just a few moments longer, you can slightly shift your weight into one arm, then the other, one leg, then the other. The shifts are subtle, but they give different body parts tiny little breaks. Eventually, you will have had enough, and you’ll start to shake. Gravity is a powerful force after all. But building your staying power in Plank will increase your self-confidence and the strength of your entire body. When you do come down, be sure to take a Child’s Pose for five breaths or more. If you have time, take a five minute Savasana to wind down.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

The plank works. In fact, a study at the Biomechanics Lab at Sand Diego State University recently found the plank works your core more effectively than traditional crunches and, better still, won’t wreck your back, either.

However, the debate surrounding how long you should be holding it has been raging on for years. That is, until now. And the answer might please some of you.

According to professor and spine specialists Stuart McGill, PhD, the answer is just 10 seconds.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

“There’s no utility to this kind of activity other than claiming a record,” said McGill, who was speaking to The Telegraph. Instead, McGill believes you will see greater benefits from planking for three 10-second intervals rather than long holds. “Basically, holding repeated holds of 10 seconds is best for the average person. But for people looking to better back health they should be doing the Big 3 [curl ups, side-plank and bird dog] every day. My conclusions come from many studies that we have performed, not just a single one.”

McGill, who spent 30 years as a professor of spine biomechanics, also warned that you should avoid certain back exercises first thing in the morning.

“Your discs are hydrophilic, which means they love water, they suck up fluids, so when you go to bed at night you’re shorter than when you wake up in the morning. Your spinal discs are much more inflated, they don’t like to bend and actually it has three times the stress.”

McGill recommends not doing bending exercises in the morning, such as pulling your knees to your chest or sit-ups. He believes it would be much wiser to wait an hour, go for a walk and let gravity “squeeze out some of the water.”

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

Not Everyone Agrees

As you can imagine, not everyone agrees. Speaking to The Independent, Benji Tiger, a personal trainer at Orange Theory in Florida said, “You should be holding a plank for 30 seconds to a minute.” And if you were to do planking intervals, “holding for 20 seconds each time would be better.”

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

Veteran strength coach and Men’s Health contributor Dan John suggests holding the plank for no more than 120 seconds. In his book, Can You Go? if you can’t hold a plank for 120 seconds, you’re either a) too fat; b) too weak; or c) doing something wrong in your workouts.

Simply put: a fit, healthy guy should be able to do a two-minute plank, and not for a second longer. “Enough is enough,” he says. “It’s just a plank. More is not better.”

Form Is Paramount

Let’s pause the stopwatch for a moment. Despite the varying opinions on how long you should hold position, it’s agreed, thankfully, that the most important part of planking comes down to form.

In the press-up position, your feet should be together, arms slightly wider than shoulder width and your weight resting on your forearms. Most importantly, your body should form a straight line and be stiff from head to toe as you brace your abs. The moment your back begins to sag, is the moment you should stop, no matter how long the clock has been ticking.

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

So. is it better to hold one long plank or multiple sets of short planks? While most trainers don't debate the fact that planks are one of the best exercises to strengthen your core muscles, how long you should hold one is highly contested.

The plank exercise, in which you hold your body in a straight line, supporting yourself on either your forearms or hands, is often part of a core strengthening program — and for good reason.

"The plank is actually a full-body exercise and works more than just your abdominal muscles," says Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, founder of Movement Vault. This isometric move works your abs, glutes, quads, lats, pecs, back and even the muscles in your feet and ankles.

And yes, planks are more effective at strengthening your core than the classic sit-up and other dynamic core exercises, according to a June 2015 study in the ​The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research​. Researchers reported that holding a plank requires the muscle to be contracted the entire time, while exercises like the curl up or crunch mandate a much shorter contraction.

But that still doesn't solve the issue of how long to hold this move for maximum ab-sculpting and core-strengthening benefits. Below, experts weigh in so you can find your optimum plank duration.

Depending on your fitness level, form and goals, you can hold a plank for anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 to 60 seconds or even up to 3 minutes.

Short Planks vs. Long Planks

You know ​why​ you should incorporate a plank into your exercise program, but ​how long​ should you hold the plank?

"None of us are trying to win the ​Guinness Book of World Records​ for planking," says Jonathan Jordan, certified personal trainer. (Fun fact: The World Record for planking is 8 hours, 15 minutes, 15 seconds.) "I tell clients 30 seconds to 60 seconds is a great goal for a plank."

Wickham, however, recommends holding it for 1 to 3 minutes. "Generally it is better to perform a plank for a longer duration with less sets, then to perform the plank for a shorter amount of time for more sets," he says.

"This is because there is more physiologic stress put on your muscles and nervous system toward the end of your rep, when your muscles are already fatigued. The last portion of your rep is where the real gold is when it comes to getting stronger or building muscle."

On the other end of the spectrum, Stuart McGill, PhD, the author of the study above, recommends holding a plank for just 10 seconds, but doing 5 sets, resting for a few seconds between each set.

With advice ranging from 10 seconds to 3 minutes, how long should ​you​ hold your planks? It boils down to your fitness level and form.

"The biggest key to performing planks is performing them with good technique and form," Wickham says. "I have seen people that can hold a sloppy plank for over 5 minutes with no problem, but when I correct their technique, they can barely hold a plank for 1 minute."

Jordan agrees, saying, "It depends on where you start. If just starting out and 20 seconds is hard, start with 20 seconds with good form."

If you're new to planking, start in the 10-second range and work your way up with time or adding more sets, always focusing on your form.

"You should rest and take a break when your form starts to break down," Wickham says. "You will know this is the case when your low back and/or hips starts to sag toward the ground, your shoulder blades start to sag toward each other or your butt starts to stick up in the air."

Proper Plank Form

How long to hold a plank as a beginner

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and your hips directly above your knees.
  2. Step your right foot back and then your left foot to balance on your hands and toes. Your body should form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Tuck your pelvis in to engage your core and squeeze your glutes.
  3. Hold this position while maintaining a neutral spine.

Take Your Planks to the Next Level

Whether you're holding a plank with good form for 30 seconds or 3 minutes, there are things you can do to take them to make them more challenging besides adding more time.

“By nature, the plank is more of an endurance exercise than it is a strength exercise," Wickham says. To focus on building more strength in your core, he suggests wearing a weighted vest or putting a weight plate on your back while you're planking. As always, make sure you're watching your form with this added weight to prevent injury.

You can also make this exercise more difficult by adding plank variations, such as raising one leg up or doing a plank bird dog, Jordan says.