How long should you plank for?

This month, on May 18, at the 1st International Plank Training Conference with Guinness World Records officials on hand, Dana Glowacka took the women’s world plank record by holding the pose for four hours and 20 minutes.


Read more here.

But how long should you plank for? Are you tempted to go for a plank personal record, if not a world record?

Personal trainers say, just don’t. While there’s a lot of debate among trainers about how long you should plank for the range seems to be between 10 seconds and a couple of minutes. No one mentions hours.

Here’s the case for 10 seconds, lots of reps of 10 seconds but still, just 10 seconds.

From another plank story:

“Definitely not more than a minute. Unfortunately, most people are doing them wrong,”

Personal trainer Amanda Thebe told Global News. “By simply holding a plank position without creating adequate tension throughout the whole body, they are not getting the full plank benefits.”

“If you are doing a plank and can hang out there easily for a minute or more, then chances are you aren’t doing it correctly. You should be clenching your glutes, like you are trying to eat your shorts, your core should be braced like you are being punched in the gut and you should be squeezing all other muscles tightly so that there is a full body connection.

Men’s Health makes the case for three minutes here.

This plank workout looks pretty good to me. Lots of variety and 30 second planks.

How long does you hold planks for? What’s your record?

5 thoughts on “How long should you plank for?

  1. My mom had a transient amnesia after holding a plank for what was evidently too long. Thought she was having a stroke. Hospital, very scary. 1 minute planks are great.

  2. A few years ago, I set out to extend the time I could hold a plank. I started out very short– maybe 15-20 seconds– and then moved on to 45 seconds, and then to about a minute. But everything fell apart after 45 seconds– I was wavering and losing form and doing things with my neck and shoulders (bad bad bad). I think my reasonable max is about 45 seconds. But more important these days is being able to move in and out of plank comfortably while doing yoga. I find that much more satisfying.

    There’s a similar discussion about holding downward dog in yoga. People struggle with it, hate it, feel like their heels need to touch the floor (they don’t), and feel like they don’t have enough arm strength (they do). It’s all about form and weight adjustment– the feeling is to send hips up high and back, lengthening the hamstrings and sending the weight up and back. I learned this by doing DD assisted with ropes– your hands are no longer part of the equation, because you’re held by the rope. So you can feel the weight being shifted to your hips and legs. It’s intense, but really transformed what the pose meant. I would love to learn how to transform plank in that way, too.

    One more note: I have more flexible hamstrings, so downward dog is a pose my body happens to like. I get no credit for this. Ditto for things like plank– our bodies happen to like some moves and not others. It may be interesting trying to develop a skill/pose/movement that your body objects to, but it’s important to know that our bodies impose hard parameters, and it’s not a bad idea to respect them.

  3. An alternative to the standard, “static” front plank is the RKC plank. These, when done correctly, are very intense as they engage more muscle, and are unlikely to be done more than 30 seconds at a time (often much less). I have switched to RKC planks in the past few years, as I find it more satisfying to do something more active in the plank position, and it appeals to my sense of doing it and getting on with the rest of my workout.

    Although it should probably also be said that I may have done my last plank. I have been doing some reading, and with my recent hysterectomy (2 weeks out!), there’s some evidence that these kinds of “ab” exercises may create too much internal, downward pressure onto the pelvic floor. I am still looking into it, but I have to say, I wouldn’t mind having an excuse to never do a plank or a crunch again!

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