Plank exercise: How long should you hold out to work your abs?

Love it or hate it, the plank exercise seems to feature in most top ab workouts as an effective way to strengthen and stabilize your core muscles. On paper, a plank looks pretty easy – there’s no jumping, squatting or dashing required, you just need to relax on your elbows, strengthening your core. A plank is an isometric exercise, designed to build strength while still, as your body works against gravity to hold the pose.

That said, anyone who has ever tried holding a plank will know that this move is far from a walk in the park. the World record to hold a plank is a whopping nine hours and 30 minutes, but how long do you have in fact need to hold a plank to get results? (The good news is it’s not nearly as long!)

If you hate planks or find them too difficult right now, this exercise is just as effective as planks for sculpting your core.

How long do you need to hold a plank to get results?

According to research by professor and spine specialist Stuart McGill, Ph.D., all you need to do is hold a plank for 10 seconds to work your core and see results. While some personal trainers disagree, arguing that you should start at 10 seconds and try to build up to 60 seconds, McGill believes holding three sets of 10-second planks is better for back health. of the average person.

How to Do a Plank Exercise with Correct Form

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

How to make a plank with the right shape

Of course, in addition to the length of your hold, your position during the plank is imperative for both your spine health and your abs results. In order to get into the plank position properly, start in a press-up position, with your arms slightly wider than your shoulders and your body weight resting on your hands flat on the floor, or on your forearms, depending on the variant you opt for. Consider creating a straight line between your heels and the top of your head, engaging your core.

Common Mistakes People Make When Holding a Plank

The easiest way to spot if you are not doing the plank correctly is to take a video of yourself in the position and look for the following errors:

  • Your hips are too high
    If you lift your hips into the plank, you make the position easier by putting less strain on your core muscles. The same goes for dropping your hips too low to the ground. When you’re in a plank position, remember to draw your navel in toward your spine and engage your glutes to keep your body in a straight line.
  • You bend your spine
    To avoid putting too much pressure on your spine in the plank, keep your eyes fixed on the ground to relax your neck. If you look forward or up during a plank, your spine will no longer be in a neutral position.
  • Your arms are not in the right position
    Remember that your shoulders should be stacked over your elbows. If your elbows are too close to your body or too far in front of your shoulders, you won’t be able to fully engage your core properly.

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