How Long Should You Really Hold the Plank Exercise to See Benefits?

Man doing plank

Okay, everyone…the magic number when it comes to how long you should hold the plank exercise is…it depends! Disappointed that I didn’t have a more straightforward answer? Well, let me explain: it depends on why you’re doing the plank in the first place. Planks are such an amazing core exercise and can be super beneficial when performed correctly. Not sure you’ve got the form down? Here’s how to do the perfect plank.

A woman holding a plank

3 ways to incorporate the plank exercise for maximum benefits!

1. Do a plank challenge

Your competition? Yourself! This is where you hold a plank for as long as you can and time it. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a high plank or a low plank — just make sure you are practicing proper form. Monitor your progress each week — even 1 second longer is improvement!

How long should you hold it: As long as you can!

2. Plank as part of your warm-up

Doing a plank to warm up your core before a workout is a good idea. However, you don’t want to completely exhaust your core as it needs to be strong and ready to support other movements during your workout. In this case, I really like exercises like Plank to Downward Dog, Inchworms, High Plank & Low Plank done for shorter durations and repetitions. All the exercises mentioned can be found in the Runtastic Results app with step-by-step instructional videos.

How long should you hold it: 10-30 secs or 5-10 reps, for 1-3 rounds.

3. Plank as part of your workout

You don’t have to wait for “abs day” in order to incorporate planks into your workout routine. Static planks, as well as dynamic plank variations, fit perfectly into a total-body circuit training workout (like those found in the Workout Creator feature). Be sure to track your progress. You’ll get to know your body, and soon a 30-second plank won’t be as tough as it once was, or you’ll be able to perform more High Plank Shoulder Taps without taking a break.

How long should you hold it: Push yourself here. Of course, you don’t want to “max out” as you would during the plank challenge, but you want to have to work for it!

So as you can see…it really does depend when it comes to how long you should hold the plank exercise to see benefits. Who cares if you can hold a plank for 5 minutes if your form is really bad. What really matters is that you are incorporating the plank and plank-based exercises into your workout routine on a regular basis.

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Lunden Souza Lunden is a Certified Personal Trainer and the Runtastic Fitness Coach. You can work out with her on the Runtastic Fitness Channel on YouTube or join her at one of the LIVE Workout Parties. View all posts by Lunden Souza »

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