Shorter planks are more effective, according to experts

·2-min read
This is how to make planking more effective (Stock)
This is how to make planking more effective (Stock)

Planking can be incredible for your core - but just how long do you have to hold the muscle-blasting pose for it to be effective?

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

Speaking to The Telegraph, McGill said: “There’s no utility to this kind of activity other than claiming a record.”

Rather, McGill suggests that those looking to benefit from planking will see greater results if they rely on three 10-second intervals, rather than longer holds, or the "Big 3" - which includes curl-ups, side planks, and bird dog exercises.

However, personal trainers seem to disagree.

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Benji Tiger, a personal trainer at Orange Theory in Florida told The Independent: “You should be holding a plank for 30 seconds to a minute.”

And she doesn’t believe that 10-second planks would be effective, but if you were to do planking intervals, “holding for 20 seconds each time would be better.”

Rob Arreaga, a personal trainer at Equinox in New York City, agreed. He told us: “Ideally, planks should be held for a minute to see results.”

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.

As long as your back isn’t sagging, which can put unnecessary pressure and stress on your joints, a plank will engage your muscles, according to Max Lowery, who said planks are the “exercise he most often sees people doing incorrectly at the gym.”

But even Lowery holds his own planks for about 30 seconds, as anything longer than that gets “boring.”

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.

This article was originally published in 2018

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